Rose Ayling-Ellis reveals first Barbie with hearing aids

Rose Ayling-Ellis, Credit: Mattel
Barbie’s parent company Mattel has teamed up with British actress Rose Ayling-Ellis to release the first doll with a behind-the-ear hearing aid

As the first deaf EastEnders’ character, CBeebies bedtime story's host and Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Rose Ayling-Ellis has become a pioneering advocate for the deaf community – and she’s recently had a Barbie Doll fashioned after her.

Rose Ayling-Ellis, who has been deaf since birth, said: “It's so important for children to be able to see themselves represented in the toys they play with. 

“When I was little, I would draw hearing aids onto my Barbie dolls to make them look like me, so I am thrilled that Mattel is releasing more dolls that encourage kids to celebrate and embrace their differences!”

Rose’s Barbie is the latest addition to Mattel’s collection of dolls that celebrate diversity, in a bid to broaden beauty standards and to provide children with a wider choice of dolls that represent themselves in a diverse world. 

Rosie Eggleston, participation manager at the National Deaf Children's Society, expressed that Rose’s doll a "really positive step towards inclusion" and that the charity was “delighted” by the announcement.

"She will give all children a much greater appreciation of the diversity of people around them and provide a window into the world of deafness," Rosie said.

"This could really help them to be proud of their deafness, celebrate wearing hearing aids and have new opportunities to talk to their friends about what it's really like to be deaf."

The changing face of Barbie

Over the past few years, Mattel has been welcoming a diverse range of dolls to the Barbie family after a survey of 8,000 mothers found that a staggering 86% were worried about the messages Barbie dolls were sending their children. 

This first line welcomed celebrities such as model and body activist Ashley Graham and film director Ava Duvernay, as well as professionals such as Martyna Wojciechowska, Sara Gama and Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Now, children can get their hands on Barbie’s that are curvy, petite or tall, with nine different body types, 94 hairstyles and 35 skin tones. Barbie’s faithful companion, Ken, has also had a glow up, as he can now have long, combable hair, cornrows, or even a man bun. Both Barbie and Ken are also available in wheelchairs, with vitiligo and prosthetic limbs.

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