‘Mini-stroke left me with a Welsh accent’

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A stroke victim was left in shock this week after waking up to find she was speaking with a Welsh accent.

Deborah Ballard told the Herald she only realised she was suffering with a rare condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) – where people’s voices can change following trauma – when she was calling in her pets from the garden.

Deborah Ballard whose voice suddenly changed following a mini-stroke with her husband Guy. October 16th 2013 E42063P

Deborah Ballard whose voice suddenly changed following a mini-stroke with her husband Guy. October 16th 2013 E42063P

The 53-year-old, of Wildwood, Langney, suffered a stroke back in February and a transient ischaemic attack – known as a mini stroke – on Sunday when she was at her job as a senior care assistant.

She said, “It wasn’t until I called the animals in that I realised my voice had changed.”

“My husband thinks it’s quite cute.”

Mrs Ballard, who was born in London and grew up in Kent, said her son initially thought she was joking when he heard her. She said she couldn’t put her finger on where her new accent was from but that friends and family said she sounded Welsh or Scottish.

She added, “I texted my husband and told him not to be surprised when he came home as I had a bit of an accent.

“I got a bit embarrassed about it at first but everybody who has heard me said they think it’s sweet.

“I spoke to the doctor about it and he said as long as I’m not in pain everything should be alright.

“I must admit when I was talking I was looking in the mirror and talking to myself, I was trying to work it out and was getting a bit upset.”

Despite the change the Langney resident is remaining positive and say she actually thinks the new accent is ‘quite nice’.

She added, “I can see the funny side of it all.”

Mrs Ballard, who is on medication for the stroke and a knee operation she had in August, is due to attend the stroke unit today (Friday).

A DGH spokesman said FAS was ‘relatively rare’.

FAS is a medical condition in which patients develop what appears to be a foreign accent. Foreign accent syndrome usually results from stroke but can also develop from head trauma.

• To watch a video of Deborah Ballard talking about the condition, visit the Herald website.