In July 2018 3M agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Justice $9.1 million to settle a whistleblower claim alleging it violated the False Claims Act lawsuit, by knowingly selling defective Combat Arms™ earplugs to the U.S. military.

3M, and its predecessor Aero Technologies, were the U.S. military’s sole supplier of earplugs from 2003 to 2012 and continued to sell the earplugs to the military until they were discontinued in 2015.

Use of these earplugs may result in:

Hearing Loss​

Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)​

The individuals qualified will at least have these qualities:

The 3M Military Earplug lawsuit makes a claim that 3M sold defective earplugs to the military between the years of 2003 and 2015. It was found that these earplugs are ineffective. Their inability to hold tightly in the user’s ears were compromised which caused damage to the user. As a result many veterans have had their hearing adversely affected and will need to deal with the consequences for the rest of their lives. Our team of personal injury lawyers is evaluating cases and helping those victims recover what they are rightfully owed.

What are 3M Combat Arms™ Earplugs?

The defective earplugs were dual-ended, or “selective attenuation earplugs” and were designed to be worn two ways – either as traditional earplugs, to block out loud noises; or in the open position, to allow the wearer to hear speech and quieter noises. However, the stems of the earplugs were too short and would gradually loosen, permitting damaging sounds to enter the wearer’s ears. The lawsuit alleged that Aero knew about the defective design, as early as 2000, and that they manipulated testing results in order to procure the military contract. The defective earplugs were standard issue for certain branches of the military from 2003 to 2015.

What’s Wrong With Them?

Although the dual-ended combat arms earplugs have been standard issue for over a decade, they have one major deficiency. The earplug stem is too short, preventing it from staying far enough inside the ear canal to effectively prevent high frequency sound from reaching the eardrum. This issue has been found to be the cause of major ear problems with veterans. Long-term effects include tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, and balance loss.

Lawsuits with 3M Earplugs

By the end of 2015, over 1 million veterans were being compensated for hearing loss. Although 3M claims no wrongdoing, they agreed to pay 9.1 million dollars in compensation to the the Department of Justice. 3M is currently being sued by individual plaintiffs that claim the company’s act of omitting their defects from public knowledge led to major personal/physical damages. If you used these earplugs and you are suffering from hearing loss or worse, contact our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers at Murphy Law Firm. We will evaluate your claim, and work to get you the recovery compensation you so desperately deserve. 

Scientific Studies About Veteran Hearing Loss

From Military Medical Research:

Military personnel are exposed to high levels of noise frequently, and this has led to hearing loss and tinnitus being the second most prevalent service-related disability. 3M’s actions could have contributed to these numbers. Military Medical Research,(link below), provides a report of the extent of the hearing loss problems.

From publicintegrity.org:

Hearing Loss widespread Among Post-9/11 Veterans; the most widespread injury for veterans has been hearing loss and other auditory complications.

From research.va.org:

Hearing problems—including tinnitus—are by far the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans.

News Articles:

Contractor settles for $9.1 million after providing defective earplugs for servicemembers.

Veterans sue, saying 3M Combat earplugs caused hearing injuries

Combat veteran files lawsuit for loss of hearing due to defective military earplugs


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