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The company 3M (previously Aero Technologies) settled a lawsuit in July 2018 for $9.1 million paid to the U.S. military following allegations that 3M supplied defective earplugs to servicemen and servicewomen between 2003 and 2015. However, the company did not admit any wrongdoing in response to the allegations, and no determinations of liability were made.
Individual service members are now filing lawsuits against 3M to seek financial recovery for the damages they suffered from defects in the earplugs 3M did not report to the military. If you or a loved one suffers hearing loss or tinnitus after using the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, then you too deserve the chance to fight for a fair settlement.
What is the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit?
Between 2003 and 2015, the multinational corporation 3M was the exclusive provider of dual-sided earplugs for all branches of the U.S. military. During this time, the company allegedly falsified test results for their 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 and sold defective versions of them that were issued to soldiers, putting thousands of service members unknowingly at risk of tinnitus or full or partial hearing loss.
The $9.1 million settlement with 3M resolved allegations that the company sold (or caused to be sold) defective earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency. This is a violation of the False Claims Act, which was set in place to combat fraud against the government.
How the Earplugs Were Defective
The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were dual-sided and intended for use by military members. The earplugs had two sides:
- The olive-colored side was intended to block out all sound
- The yellow-colored side was meant to let in quieter sounds, such as commands from friendly soldiers, but reduce very loud noises like explosions.
According to the lawsuit, there was a defect in the earplug design: the buds were too short, and the seal of each plug inside the user’s ear became loose (undetectable by the user) as it was worn. As a result, the earplugs weren’t providing the user with adequate protection from noise and potential hearing damage.
In addition, the company falsely certified the earplugs as being up to designated standards and stated the product had a noise reduction rating (NPR) or 22. This rating would have protected service members from ear-damaging noises. However, it was discovered the earplugs actually had an average NPR of 10.9, way below the standard required for ear protection.
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Did 3M Settle the Lawsuit?
A lawsuit against 3M was settled for $9.1 million, but those who served while the defective version of the product was being sold may still be paying the price. That’s why many are getting legal help to seek financial recovery for hearing damage caused by these earplugs.
How Do These Earplugs Cause Hearing Damage?
Hearing damage can occur if an earplug doesn’t function as it’s supposed to, especially if it’s meant for high-volume environments like military personnel are exposed to daily. Hearing loss can be full or partial, and the severity can range from mild to full.
If someone has tinnitus, it’s a symptom of an underlying condition very often related to hearing loss. Tinnitus can include hearing noises like buzzing, hissing, ringing, roaring, or other sounds not related to what’s happening outside the ear.
How to Know if You’re Eligible for the Lawsuit
To be eligible for the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
- Have served in the U.S. military between the years 2003 and 2015
- Were issued (and used) dual-sided 3M Combat Arms Earplugs
- Have been diagnosed with tinnitus (the perception of ringing or noise in your ears) or significant hearing loss
If you meet the criteria above, you may be entitled to financial recovery for the damage you’ve suffered from the dishonest actions of 3M and their earplugs. Contact a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit lawyer as soon as possible to find out your options for filing a lawsuit.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-400-4000
Contact Our Attorneys for Help on Filing a 3M Lawsuit
Our attorneys at John Foy & Associates are prepared to help servicemen and servicewomen hurt by the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs and their defective parts. You’ve fought for our country, and now we’re ready to help fight for you. With more than 20 years of experience, we know how to approach these types of cases—and there’s no risk in working with us. We don’t get paid unless YOU win money.