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3M Earplugs

3M Earplugs Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, and Injuries

Corporate giant 3M Company sold their Dual-sided Combat Arms Earplugs (version 2) to the U.S. military for decades. From 2003 to 2015, military members serving in the states and in active combat zones used 3M earplugs as their standard issue earplugs. Soldiers used the earplugs to block out loud noises and blasts common to combat and military training.

However, 3M failed to let the government know that those earplugs contained flaws that failed to adequately protect soldiers’ hearing. The military earplugs contained a design defect, known to 3M Company, that caused the earplug to not properly fit in soldiers’ ear canals. This left soldiers subject to hearing injuries, many of them severe and permanent.

If you served in the U.S. Military between 2003-2015 and used 3M’s military earplugs, you may be eligible to a cash award for your hearing injuries.

Which Military 3M Earplugs are Defective?

Claims state 3M Company’s Dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs (Version 2) contain dangerous design defects that contribute to veterans’ hearing injuries. Aearo Technologies, Inc. designed and created the Combat Arms earplugs until 2008 when 3M bought the company.

Aearo originally designed the plugs to give soldiers two options for sound protection based on what side of the plug they inserted. In the “closed” position, one side blocked all sound. The other end, in the “open” position, reduced loud noises but still let soldiers hear spoken orders.

These earplugs fulfilled a huge need for the U.S. military. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs as hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing injuries are the most common disabilities for individuals in the armed forces. Thousands of soldiers used the 3M earplugs, especially soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000’s. In fact, the Combat Arms earplugs were standard issue in branches of the U.S. military from 2003 until 2015.

However, a whistle blower lawsuit against 3M company alleged the earplugs contained defects and 3M defrauded the government by knowingly selling them faulty earplugs. According to the lawsuit, the earplug’s stem was too short, causing it to not properly fit into soldiers’ ear canals. This subjected soldiers to highly inadequate hearing protection in training and combat zones.

The Dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs can be recognized by the following characteristics:

  • Yellow on one end
  • Black or an olive green on the other end
  • The earplugs are reversible
  • Each end of the earplug has three flanges that can be flipped forward for extra ear protection.

Who Used 3M Earplugs?

Because Aearo won a contract bid to supply the U.S. military with their dual-sided earplugs, they provided military members allegedly defective earplugs from 2003 to 2015. This contract supplied earplugs to thousands of soldiers in branches of the military including:

  • Army
  • Air Force
  • Navy
  • Marines

Even soldiers who were deployed to combat zones, like Iraq and Afghanistan, were issued the earplugs. Additionally, 3M supplied several of the U.S.’s military basis with earplugs, specifically Shaw Air Force Base, the Naval Weapons Station Charleston, Fort Jackson, and the Marine Corp Recruiting Depot at Parris Island.

3M Earplug Injuries

Veterans and active military who used the defective 3M Dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs may be suffering from painful symptoms, including:

  • Muffling of speech
  • Trouble hearing
  • Withdrawal from conversation
  • Tinnitus (buzzing or ringing in the ears)
  • Diagnosed hearing loss

Lawsuits Against 3M for Earplug Injuries

3M resolved any conflicts with the U.S. government in a $9.1 million settlement, closing claims that they defrauded the military by knowingly selling them defective earplugs. However, thousands of services members have filed injury lawsuits against 3M for their hearing loss and tinnitus injuries.

Across the country, active military personnel and veterans have filed claims against 3M saying the company neglected to warn soldiers about the risk of hearing loss from using 3M’s earplugs. Therefore, they claim 3M caused and contributed to their earplug injuries. These lawsuits are now part of a multidistrict litigation, where both parties are working towards a 3M earplug settlement for the thousands of lawsuits centralized in Florida.

You May be Entitled to Compensation for Your Military Earplug Injuries

If you served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015, used 3M's Dual-sided Combat Arms earplugs, and were diagnosed with hearing loss, tinnitus, or another hearing injury, you have legal rights that deserve protecting. 3M's failure to protect you from a dangerous product should not go unchecked! We can help you fight for justice against them. Through filing a claim against 3M, you may be entitled to a significant cash award to help you recover from your earplug injuries. 

Contact the personal injury lawyers at the McGartland Law Firm today to see if you qualify to file a claim for your injuries. We offer free, no-obligation case evaluations, and our legal team is available 24/7 to answer your questions and concerns. Let us fight for you in your time of need: give us a call at 866.832.9300.

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