Foreign Accent Syndrome
Pronounced: FOR-en AK-sent SIN-drome
by Mary Cresse
Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a rare speech disorder. If you have FAS, you adopt what sounds like a foreign accent, even though you may never have traveled to that particular country.
FAS is caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls the rhythm and melody of speech. The damage may be due to:
FAS is also linked it to other symptoms, such as:
Factors that increase your chance of developing FAS include:
Those with foreign accent syndrome speak in a distorted rhythm and tone, such as:
If you have FAS, you may be able to speak easily and without anxiety. Other people are able to understand you. The accent that you have adopted could be within the same language, such as American-English to British-English.
Symptoms can last for months, years, or may be permanent.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done paying particular attention to the muscles used in speech. A psychological evaluation may also be done to rule out psychiatric conditions.
Since this condition is rare, you will most likely be evaluated by a team of specialists, including:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Since FAS is closely linked to stroke, follow these guidelines to prevent stroke:
Foreign Accent Syndrome Support
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
About FAS. Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) Support website. Available at: http://www.utdallas.edu/research/FAS/about/ . Accessed May 21, 2013.
Garst D, Katz W. Foreign accent syndrome. ASHA Leader. 2006;11:10-11,31.
Miller N. Foreign accent syndrome. Not such a funny turn. Inter J Ther & Rehab. 2007;14:388.
Foreign accent syndrome. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2006/060815/f060815c/ . Updated August 2006. Accessed May 21, 2013.
Reeves, R, Burke R, Parker, J. Characteristics of psychotic patients with foreign accent syndrome. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2007;19:70-76.
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. 28th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005; B14;117;125; 1314