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May 18, 2022
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Barbie unveils its first doll with hearing aids

Barbie unveils its first doll with hearing aids

Barbie is releasing a new collection of dolls to be more inclusive of all children — starting with its first doll that wears hearing aids.

Over the last few years, Mattel’s Fashionistas line has expanded to be more diverse. In 2016, Mattel unveiled Barbie dolls with different body shapes. In 2020, the company launched Barbie dolls with vitiligo — a condition that affects skin pigmentation — and a variety of hair textures.

The company announced the addition of new dolls to the Fashionista collection. The line includes the first Barbie with behind-the-ear hearing aids, a Ken doll with vitiligo and a doll with a prosthetic leg.

Mattel

The collection aims to “reflect the diversity kids see in the world around them,” Mattel Executive Vice President Lisa McKnight said in a statement.

To accurately represent behind-the-ear hearing aids, Mattel worked with an audiologist, Dr. Jen Richardson.

“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,” Richardson said in a statement. “I’m beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll who looks like them.”

The collection now boasts over 175 dolls, according to a news release, which includes a “variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types, disabilities and fashions.”

McKnight said the dolls are for all children — even those who may not have the specific life experiences represented by the dolls.

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

The additions to the Fashionistas line will be sold on Amazon and at Target and Walmart in June.

Morgan Sung is a trends reporter for NBC News Digital.

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