Respect Diversity + Inclusion

Mattel unveils first Barbie with behind-the-ear hearing aids

“As an educational audiologist with over 18 years of experience in hearing loss advocacy, it’s inspiring to see those who experience hearing loss reflected in a doll.”
Credit: Mattel

Story at a glance

  • The latest doll is part of Barbie’s “Fashionista” line, which the brand bills as the “most diverse and inclusive doll line in the market.”

  • For the release scheduled June 22, Mattel sought the expertise of education audiologist Jen Richardson to accurately portray the hearing aids.

  • The new release also includes a Ken doll with vitiligo to complement a Barbie with vitiligo that was released in 2020, as well as new Ken options, including rooted short hair and various body types ranging from slender to curvy.

Barbie will release a new lineup of dolls this summer that includes the very first Barbie with behind-the-ear hearing aids, a doll with a prosthetic leg and a Ken doll with the skin condition vitiligo. 

The latest launch is part of Barbie’s “Fashionista” line, which the brand bills as the “most diverse and inclusive doll line in the market.” 

Since the line was rolled out more than a decade ago, Mattel has released dolls with a variety of skin tones, hair color and textures, disabilities, body types and fashions. The doll maker in recent years has released a Barbie in a wheelchair and a doll with a prosthesis.


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For the release scheduled June 22, Mattel sought the expertise of education audiologist Jen Richardson to accurately portray the hearing aids on the doll. 

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

Mattel’s Global Head of Barbie Dolls, Lisa McKnight, said it’s important for kids to see themselves reflected in the dolls as well as to play with dolls that don’t resemble themselves to “help them understand and celebrate the importance of inclusion.” 

The new release also includes a Ken doll with vitiligo to complement a Barbie with vitiligo that was released in 2020, as well as new Ken options, including rooted short hair and various body types ranging from slender to curvy. There’s also a doll with a prosthetic leg. 

The new Fashionista line will be available for purchase at Amazon, Target and Walmart. 


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