Earplugs are valuable devices that help protect our hearing against loud noises. They are especially effective in protecting the hearing of members of the military who are subjected to a number of loud noises that are extremely likely to lead to a loss of hearing.
Starting in 2003, the military was given dual ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2). These were supplied through to 2015 and were reportedly a standard issue. However, after time, it was found that the earplugs were defective and may have caused significant hearing loss in military veterans. These veterans may be compensated for hearing loss or tinnitus that may have occurred as a result of the defective earplugs.
The Defective Ear Plug Lawsuit Against 3 M
3M’s settled a whistleblower lawsuit launched on behalf of the U.S. government by a qui tam relator. The allegations were that 3M and its predecessor corporation, Aero Technologies, knew that their product was defective since 2000.
Aero admitted that the earplugs had been tested and came back with a noise reduction rating of zero. Yet, the company continued selling supplies to U.S. troops, navy and air force personnel.
The U.S. government also jumped in with its own allegations stating that Aero and 3M knowingly sold a product that was too short for proper insertion in the user’s ears.
The result of the lawsuit was a settlement agreement in which 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to the U.S. government.
3M Combat Earplugs Lawsuit FAQ’s
If you or someone you know has suffered hearing damage as a result of using 3M earplugs, you may have several questions. Here are some that are commonly asked. Hopefully, this helps you get some of the answers you are looking for.
Why are 3M earplugs dual ended?
3M earplugs featured a yellow and black end. These dual ends were intended to be versatile enough to provide hearing protection while allowing service members to communicate when necessary. One side of the earplugs was intended to block all sound while the other end was intended to block the type of loud sounds service members are likely to hear on the battlefield while still allowing other sounds, like spoken words, to come through.
In what way were 3M earplugs defective?
The 3M earplugs were designed in such a way that they would loosen in the wearer’s ear. They featured yellowfins that interfered with a tight seal that was supposed to form in the wearer’s ear canal unless they were folded. In addition to this, the noise reduction rating on the earplugs was zero and they did not allow for the proper insertion needed to protect hearing.
Can Veterans Get Compensation from 3M Beyond VA Disability?
Yes. Many veterans may already receive disability from the military that covers the hearing loss. However, these veterans may still be entitled to compensation from 3M to cover hearing loss, tinnitus or any other health issues that may have occurred as a result of wearing the earplugs.
Are the 3M Defective Earplug Lawsuits a Class Action?
No. A class action lawsuit is one where a single plaintiff or group of plaintiffs seek to represent everyone in a similar situation who have not filed individual lawsuits. The 3M defective earplug lawsuits will not be considered a class action but a mass tort. In a mass tort, everyone files their own individual lawsuit but cases are often consolidated in front of a single judge.
Seeking Compensation for Your Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be extremely difficult to deal with. It can lead to added medical expenses and reduced quality of life.
Tinnitus, in particular, can be extremely unpleasant. It is a constant hissing or ringing in your ears that is so distracting, you may be unable to sleep or concentrate. It can also make it difficult to interact socially which can lead to feelings of isolation and depression.
If you are a veteran who experienced hearing loss as a result of wearing the 3M earplugs, you deserve compensation.
Your first step in getting the compensation you deserve will be getting in touch with a reliable attorney. He or she will need to determine if you are eligible to file a lawsuit.
Eligible veterans will need to have served in the military between 2003 and 2015. They will need to have been issued earplugs to wear during this time period and they will need to have experienced some amount of hearing loss, tinnitus or other hearing issues.
If you are looking for a reliable lawyer to represent you in your 3M lawsuit, Stephanie Lyons is an attorney you can trust. With over 10 years of experience as an injury lawyer, she is well versed in representing victims of corporate negligence. She works nationally taking the time to develop meaningful relationships with her clients allowing her to fight for them on a personal and professional level which fuels her passion for a successful outcome. There is no out of pocket cost to you. Walton Telken works for you on a contingency fee basis.
If you are suffering hearing loss as a result of the lack of protection 3M earplugs provided during your time in the military, it’s time to take action. The company knew the shortcomings of their product and allowed servicemen and women to wear them anyway. Don’t let them get away with it. Turn to Stephanie Lyons to discuss your potential 3M hearing loss case.