CAMBRIDGE, UK (CBS) -- Hearing dogs have been known to help improve the lives of adults with hearing loss. But British researchers say deaf children are now living happier lives with the help of four-legged friends.
This highly-trained cockapoodle named Maddy is a personal messenger for Poppy Nicholson who has been deaf since birth. The hearing dog is the 11-year-old's constant companion.
Poppy doesn't wear her hearing aids at night so she uses Maddy's ears to know how long to brush her teeth and when to wake up in the morning.
Poppy says having Maddy at her side makes life a million percent better because she finally feels normal.
Maddy joined the Nicholson family two years ago as part of a British study. Researchers found these hearing dogs give deaf children more confidence, make them feel safer, and help everyone in the family sleep better.
In the first study of its kind in Britain, The Hearing Dogs for Deaf people gave dogs to a dozen deaf children between the ages of 7 and 11 and saw positive results. Poppy's mom Olivia says, "For us, it's reassuring because we know she feels so good about herself to the point she's proud to be deaf."
Before Maddy came along, Poppy says she used to hide her hearing aids because of people's reactions. Poppy says, "Not sure how to speak to me because they would think I couldn't actually hear them, but I would."
Now she just smiles and introduces her new best friend. The British charity has given 12 deaf children hearing dogs at a cost of about $70,000 each. They hope to expand the service as they raise more money.