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16th Aug 2022

Rose Ayling-Ellis unveils the first Barbie doll with hearing aids

Sarah McKenna Barry

“It’s so important for children to see themselves in the toys they play with.”

Strictly Come Dancing champion Rose Ayling-Ellis is teaming up with Barbie to release Mattel’s first-ever doll with hearing aids.

The new doll is part of a release from Barbie that includes a range of other dolls, including a doll using a wheelchair, a doll with a prosthetic limb, and a doll with vitiligo.

The brand worked with an expert in order to represent hearing aids accurately, and Ayling-Ellis said that she is “thrilled” to be working on the doll, because she believes it’s “so important for children to see themselves in the toys they play with”.

Last year saw Rose enter Strictly Come Dancing as the show’s first-ever deaf participant, and she ended up winning the competition alongside her partner Giovanni Pernice.

During their time on the show, the pair wowed audiences with a dance that included a completely silent section. A few weeks later, they made history by coming in first ahead of the Great British Bake Off’s John Whaite and Johannes Radebe.

Since winning the show, Rose has been calling for British Sign Language to be recognised as an official language. During an appearance on This Morning last year, Rose highlighted the difference having BSL be an official language can make in a number of settings, including healthcare.

“It’s been recognised as a language, but it’s not been official as a language. That becomes such a big problem,” Rose explained.

“For example, I have heard so many stories – and it’s still happening now – some Deaf people go to a doctor’s appointment and they ask for an interpreter and then they don’t provide them an interpreter. So they end up using their child to translate or using their family member, and that shouldn’t be done.”

She added: “So if we could change that and make it an official language, we could get so much protection.”

Feature image: Mattel