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A new Barbie features a hot pink hearing aid tucked behind one ear. The doll isn't advertised as hearing-impaired. She's just #187 in the brand's latest release of Barbie Fashionistas, which also includes dolls with vitiligo, prosthetic legs and wheelchairs.
Barbie isn't the first range of dolls to feature a hearing aid. In 2020, American Girl — another Mattel brand — introduced Joss Kendrick, 'a fierce athlete born with hearing loss and a passion for surfing and competitive cheer.' For both the American Girl doll and the new Barbie, designers chose behind-the-ear hearing aids because that's the type most commonly used by children.
Barbie Fashionistas #187 is coming to stores later this month.
As Barbie points out: "The power of play is shaping what we imagine to be possible — which is why it’s important that kids can play out stories with dolls that reflect themselves and the world around them."
That rings true with the overwhelmingly positive responses on social media, both from parents who are thrilled to be able to get their child an iconic doll that looks like them — "Oh wow, definitely getting one for my little girl. She has her hearing aids since she was 2 months old. She is 5 now and would just love a Barbie that's like her," and from adults who missed having that option when they were children — "As a hearing impaired woman, this is AMAZING! This would’ve meant everything to me as a child!!"
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