Since the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs used by the U.S. military were discovered to have been defective from 2003 to 2015, service members and veterans have been seeking compensation for hearing-related injuries.
The earplugs failed to provide sufficient hearing protection in the high-noise environments soldiers experience every day, and now the wearers are bearing the costs, including life-altering full or partial hearing loss or tinnitus.
But at John Foy & Associates, we’re ready to help military members and veterans who were impacted by the defective 3M earplugs. Here’s everything you need to know about the injuries that qualify you or a loved one to potentially seek damages for the 3M defects.
The Danger of the 3M Earplugs Combat Arms Earplugs Defect
Between 2003 and 2015, the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) contained a defect that put thousands of military members at risk of hearing damage. Soldiers are already at an increased risk of hearing damage like hearing loss and tinnitus. According to the American Tinnitus Association, tinnitus is the number one service-related disability.
In a whistleblower lawsuit brought through the False Claims Act, it was discovered that the 3M earplugs were too short to properly block out sound in the ear canal. As a result, soldiers were not getting the expected protection from loud combat- and training-related sounds.
The 3M earplugs were created specifically for the U.S. military because of their dual-ended design:
- One side blocked out all noise like a regular earplug, but
- The other side was able to block out loud noises from gunfire, explosions, and impulse noises while still letting in softer noises like spoken commands
This function was mandatory for military members, since they needed to be able to hear certain noises while having sufficient protection from damaging ones. However, although 3M, the company that created the earplugs, had allegedly known about the defect since 2000, they did not disclose the problem to the military or do anything to change it.
As a result, military members were given the defective earplugs between 2003 and 2015. Current members and veterans who served during that time are now dealing with the costs of hearing damage the earplugs left them vulnerable to.
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What Types of Injuries Were Caused By the 3M Earplugs Defect?
There are two main injuries potentially caused by the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs defect:
1. Hearing loss
Hearing loss that is full, partial, or permanent can affect a veteran’s entire life, making it hard to participate in social interactions and other sources of enjoyment in day-to-day life.
Tinnitus is an auditory and neurological condition characterized by a ringing, buzzing, roaring, or hissing in the ear when there is no external sound present. It’s most often caused by exposure to noise, either from a single impulse sound or from sound exposure over time. Tinnitus is also a common symptom associated with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Some facts to know about tinnitus and the military include:
- Service members are especially at risk of tinnitus because of their regular exposure to traumatic noises like machinery and other combat sounds
- That’s why it’s no surprise tinnitus is the leading service-related disability.
- In 2012, there were 971,990 VA claims made for tinnitus, and tinnitus claims are increasing annually by 15%
In addition, about 60 percent of veterans returned from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus, according to the Hearing Health Foundation. This coincides with the years the defective 3M earplugs were sold to the military and distributed to almost all service members.
Combat veterans are now filing lawsuits against 3M for hearing loss and/or tinnitus caused by the defective earplugs. The consequences of hearing loss and tinnitus can last a lifetime, and no military member should have to bear the cost of an incident they had no control over.
Speak with a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit Lawyer Today
At John Foy & Associates, our 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit lawyers are helping eligible veterans pursue financial recovery after 3M’s failure to act honestly about the earplug defects.
If you or a loved one served in the military between 2003 and 2015, used the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) during that time, and now suffer from hearing loss and/or tinnitus, you may be eligible to seek recovery from 3M for your damages. Contact us today for a FREE consultation to talk about your options. Call us at 404-400-4000, or simply fill out the form to the right to get started with your free consultation.