Profoundly deaf teenager from Brighton wins national award

Esme and her 'hearing dog' cola Credit: Hearing Dogs for Deaf People

A profoundly deaf teenager from Brighton has won a national award, given by Dame Esther Rantzen.

14-year-old Esmee Drake was presented the 'Life-Changing Child Partnership of the Year Award' at the Hearing Dogs Awards in recognition of her inspirational partnership with hearing dog Cola.

Esmee was born six weeks prematurely, without an oesophagus and with a hole in her heart. She is profoundly deaf and couldn’t sleep at night – too afraid of the silence in the dark. Lack of sleep impacted on Esmee’s schoolwork, and her deafness deeply affected her confidence and relationships with family and friends.

After she was given hearing dog Cola, her life turned around. All her previous problems have now been resolved and now she is now more confident and independent.