In July of 2018, a company called 3M paid out $9.1 million to the U.S. government for defects in dual-ended combat earplugs used by most service members. The defective products left thousands of military members and veterans vulnerable to possible hearing loss and damage.
Although the lawsuit was settled on a large scale, individuals affected are now reaching out to 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit lawyers for help in seeking financial recovery. If you or a loved one served in the military between 2003 and 2015 and now have hearing loss or tinnitus, you might be eligible for compensation as a result of the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit. Here’s what you need to know.
What Was Wrong with the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?
Between the years of 2003 and 2015, 3M Company manufactured and supplied combat earplugs to the U.S. military. The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) were meant to provide unique double-sided protection to our service members’ ears during training and combat. Hearing loss has been a rising concern among military veterans, and earplugs are one significant method for combatting hearing damage.
The design idea was this:
- One side of the earplugs would act “normally,” blocking out all sounds from each user’s ears.
- The other side had a special degree of protection. It would block out the loudest sounds, like those from explosions, gunfire, and other high-decibel noises of training and combat, but also allow soldiers to hear softer sounds like commands from fellow soldiers.
However, the 3M earplugs contained a defect that made them virtually useless: they were too short. As a result, they did not stay in the ear properly and loosen—imperceptibly—as they were worn. This left members’ ears open to potential damage from the loud sounds they’re exposed to every day.
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The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit
In 2016, a whistleblower lawsuit through the False Claims Act alleged that 3M’s earplugs were defective and did not provide the level of hearing protection they had been claiming. 3M also apparently knew about the defect since as early as 2000, yet did not disclose it to the United States government when the earplugs were being sold and issued to troops.
3M did not accept liability for the earplugs defect, but they paid a settlement of $9.1 million, with the whistleblower being awarded about $1.9 million. Now, many military members and veterans are seeking money for their personal damages caused by the defect earplugs that were meant to keep them safe.
Are You Eligible for Financial Recovery from the 3M Earplugs Lawsuit?
If you meet the following criteria, you might be eligible to seek financial recovery the damages from the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs defect:
- Served in the United States military between 2003 and 2015
- Used the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs during that time
- Now have full or partial hearing loss, including deafness or permanent hearing damage, and/or tinnitus
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of tinnitus can include ringing, buzzing, roaring, or whistling sounds in your ears that usually only you can hear. The sounds are not caused by any external noise, and they may either happen intermittently or never stop.
Hearing damage can affect a soldier or veteran’s entire life—personally, professionally, and socially. Veterans who served between the timeframe of September 2001 through March 2010 were found to have four times the chance of severe hearing loss versus non-veterans, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Exposure to loud noises over time, especially when you think a product is providing protection, can leave you with significant, life-altering damage to your eardrums.
If your hearing was harmed by the 3M earplugs, you shouldn’t have to pay for costs related to the diagnosis. The earplugs defect left you vulnerable to damage you didn’t cause and that went undisclosed for too many years. A 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit lawyer can help you pursue the fair financial recovery you deserve from this unfortunate issue.
Speak with a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawyer Today
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve looked into the details of the 3M earplugs lawsuit and are prepared to represent veterans who may be eligible for recovery. Don’t delay getting assistance for a problem that was out of your control—until now. We can help you figure out your options and guide you through the legal process. For a FREE consultation with speak with one of our experienced and compassionate attorneys, contact us today. Call 404-400-4000, or complete the form to the right for your free consultation.