Barbie announces 1st doll with hearing aids: 'Finally a Barbie for me'

·3-min read

Barbie just announced the launch of its newest additions to its Fashionista line, a collection of diverse and inclusive dolls.

For the first time, the line will feature a Barbie with behind-the-ear hearing aids. To accurately portray the hearing aids (which are pink, of course!), Barbie consulted educational audiologist and hearing-loss advocate Dr. Jen Richardson.

 Barbie just announced the launch of their latest dolls for their Fashionistas line, a diverse and inclusive doll line (Photo: Mattel/Barbie)
Barbie just announced the launch of their latest dolls for their Fashionistas line, a diverse and inclusive doll line. (Photo: Mattel/Barbie)
The new line will feature a Barbie with hearing aids. (Photo: Mattel)
The new line will feature a Barbie with hearing aids. (Photo: Mattel)

This addition is one in a series of initiatives by Barbie to diversify its dolls and offer more inclusive representation.

Also among the lineup is a prosthetic-leg Barbie, and a Ken with vitiligo, a condition in which skin loses pigment cells. Released in 2020, that was one of the line's best sellers of the year.

Barbie also announced the release of a Ken doll with vitiligo. (Photo: Mattel)
Barbie also announced the release of a Ken doll with vitiligo. (Photo: Mattel)

In June 2019, the brand announced the release of Barbie in a wheelchair, with Ken in a wheelchair following in 2021.

Barbie has also in recent years diversified the body types of its dolls, including smaller bust, curvy and "original," after decades of (still ongoing) criticism about promoting unrealistic body standards.

The Barbie Fashionista line originally started in 2009 and features dolls with various characteristics meant to represent a broader range of customers — of all sizes, colors and abilities.

"Barbie and Ken Fashionistas celebrate diversity with fashion dolls that encourage real-world storytelling and open-ended dreams! With a wide variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types and fashions, the dolls are designed to reflect the world kids see today," Mattel declares on its website, with previous diverse releases never failing to strike a chord with fans.

And this latest edition is already garnering similar praise and excitement:

"Finally a Barbie for me," shared one fan of the inclusive new Barbie, with others, including hearing-health companies, calling the release "exciting."

All of the new dolls will be available for purchase in June, for $10, at Amazon, Target and Walmart.

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