Introducing The Fashion Doll With Hearing Aids

Helping children to see themselves as they play.

May 20, 2022
Introducing The Fashion Doll With Hearing Aids | Helping children to see themselves as they play.

Barbie dolls have been a big part of kids growing up for 63 years and the brand has grown and matured too. Instead of just being a fashion doll to dress up in a bathing suit or sparkling evening gown, Barbie dolls reflect the values of little girls growing up to be scientists or astronauts. Barbies now come in all sizes, shapes and colors, including a Barbie in a wheel chair as well as one with a prosthetic leg.

In a move to expand this commitment towards diversity and inclusion, Mattel, according to CNN, is launching a Barbie that will have a behind-the-ear visible hearing aid. Wanting the doll to be as accurate as possible, the company teamed up with Dr. Jen Richardson, a leading practitioner in educational audiology to help with the design.

“As an educational audiologist with over 18 years of experience working in hearing loss advocacy, it's inspiring to see those who experience hearing loss reflected in a doll,” she told Axios in a statement. “I'm beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll who looks like them.”

Barbie’s Fashionista Line
The hearing-impaired doll is a part of Mattel’s 2022's Fashionista line up and will be launched in June 2022 along with a new Ken doll that has the skin condition vitiligo which causes a loss of pigmentation, reported Axios. A Black Barbie with the same condition came out in 2020.

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The Fashionista collection, which premiered in January 2020, has over 175 dolls that feature a variety of skin tones, body types, hair colors and textures, as well as disabilities.

“Barbie wholeheartedly believes in the power of representation, and as the most diverse doll line on the market, we are committed to continuing to introduce dolls featuring a range of skin tones, body types and disabilities to reflect the diversity kids see in the world around them,” Mattel's Global Head of Barbie Dolls, Lisa McKnight said in a company statement.

“It's important for kids to see themselves reflected in product[s] and to encourage play with dolls that don't resemble them to help them understand and celebrate the importance of inclusion.”

More Inclusive Play
Children can learn about diversity and inclusion at a young age through play so Mattel is on the right track with these new dolls but the company is not alone. Lottie dolls also come in a variety of ethnicities and body styles. One doll comes with a cochlear implant.

To promote gender neutrality, Hasbro gave its iconic Mr. Potato Head toy a makeover in 2021 with its Create Your Potato Head Family. This non-gendered family can have two dads, or two moms, to allow children to represent their own experiences.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.