Your Hearing Loss Could Be Caused by 3M’s Allegedly Defective Earplugs

February 18, 2019

Answer the Following Questions to See if You May Have a Claim Against 3M for Their Allegedly Defective Earplugs:

  • Did you serve in the military between 2003 and 2015?
  • Did you use 3M’s Combat Arms™ earplugs?
  • Is your hearing impaired or do you have tinnitus?

Symptoms of Tinnitus are noises in the ears and head include:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Whistling
  • Hissing
  • Clicking
  • Roaring

If you answer yes to the questions above, contact Morrow & Sheppard LLP and speak with a defective 3M earplug attorney immediately! Morrow & Sheppard LLP is now investigating these cases, and will work to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Act now to protect your legal rights. Our personal injury firm has been fortunate to represent veterans.  We aggressively fight for veterans—like they have fought for us!

Whistleblower Lawsuit Brought Against 3M for Allegedly Defective Earplugs

Whistleblower protections have given others the courage to speak up against illegal and unethical actions.  Recently, a whistleblower brought some concerning allegations about 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs to the attention of the U.S. government.  There appears to be a link between the design of the earplugs and hearing damage among soldiers.

The U.S. government recently settled a case against 3M, a U.S.-based defense contractor.  The government alleged that 3M knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military.  Although 3M did not outright admit its Combat Arms™ earplugs had a serious design defect that allowed dangerous sound levels to enter the ear canal and harm the hearing of the soldiers who wore them, 3M did agree to settle with the government for more than $9 million.

3M’s slogan, “Curiosity is just the beginning”

In May 2016, Moldex-Metric, Inc. blew the whistle on 3M.  In defending a patent, Moldex claimed that the company made false statements to the government regarding its dual-end Combat Arms™ earplugs.  Allegedly, the Combat Arms™ earplugs made by 3M have a dangerous design that can cause them to loosen while being worn, exposing the end user to dangerous sound levels.  A lawsuit brought by the U.S. government against 3M affirmatively states that the dual-end Combat Arms™ earplugs “have likely caused thousands of soldiers to suffer significant hearing loss and tinnitus in addition to exposing millions to the risk caused by 3M’s defective earplugs.”

Millions of soldiers were issued a pair of Combat Arms™ earplugs.  Unfortunately, 3M may have failed to protect many of those who selflessly protected (and who continue to protect) this nation while fighting in:

  • War in Afghanistan
  • The Iraq War
  • War in North-West Pakistan
  • War in Somalia
  • Operation Ocean Shield
  • Libyan Crisis
  • Intervention in Syria
  • Yemeni Civil War

3M had been selling the earplugs to the U.S. military on between 2003 and 2015 before the defect was uncovered by Moldex.  In July 2018, 3M settled with the government for $9.1 million.  Now, hundreds of veterans are filing lawsuits against 3M for manufacturing and selling “defective combat earplugs to the military.

Potential Link Found Between 3M Earplugs and Hearing Damage Among Soldiers

Soldiers who were issued Combat Arms™ earplugs may have been exposed to dangerous levels of sound.  This exposure could lead to tinnitus or hearing loss among the soldiers.  Hearing loss and tinnitus are the most common health conditions found among veterans.  A 2015 article estimates that the Veterans Administration spends more than $1 billion per year to treat hearing loss veterans.  The article notes that “the most-widespread injury for [post-9/11] veterans has been hearing loss and other auditory complications” and that “hearing maladies cost more than $1.4 billion in veterans disability payments annually, according to fiscal year 2010 data from the Hearing Center of Excellence, a part of the Department of Defense.”  It would be no surprise that the inadequate ear protection provided by these earplugs are the reason why some veterans have hearing damage.

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