3M Combat Earplugs Lawsuit

Many military veterans have come home from different confrontations with problems related to their hearing. Whether they served in war zones or worked with excessively loud equipment, the hearing could have been affected. Military members who worked in other industries also had hearing problems related to their job. This is especially true of the ground crew with helicopters, aircraft pilots, military police officers who listen to loud sirens daily. There are people in many areas of military life who were exposed to loud noises while using were using the 3M combat earplugs.

The manufacturers of the 3M combat earplugs sold millions of these items to the United States military. The two most common disability among American veterans is hearing loss and tinnitus which is ringing in the ears. These ailments affect over 2.7 million veterans to this date. The 3M combat arms earplugs were originally manufactured by Aearo Technologies, but now they are a product of, and owned by 3M. It was discovered that the design was defective, and too short to allow them to seal the ear canal properly from damaging noise. Instead of correcting this mistake, the company sold the earplugs to the United States Government to be issued among military personnel between 2003 and 2015.

The defect in the earplugs could not be detected by trained audiologists, so many soldiers went into combat with faulty protection for the ears. Because of this, the 3M company was ordered to pay United States and its veterans $9.1 million dollars in order to settle allegations that they knowingly sold defective earplugs to the military. The dual that ended combat arms earplugs is now discontinued. These earplugs were part of the equipment that was standard issue for military members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the twelve years of those disturbances, the United States Defense Logistics Agency had spent and distributed several million dollars on the combat arms earplugs. This placed military men and women at risk of permanent hearing impairment.

The lawsuits that were filed enabled veterans who served in any branch of the military between 2003 and 2015 to apply for compensation if they were experiencing problems with their ears and hearing. The lawsuits also alleged that 3M and its’ predecessor Aearo Technologies were well aware of the defect in the design of the earplugs but continued to sell them anyway. Often times problems with hearing are not immediately realized. Soldiers and members of other branches of the service can experience these problems years after they have been discharged from their perspective branch of service.

Applying for compensation can be done at any Veteran Administration office. Staff members there can inform veterans where to inquire about the lawsuits so that any monies that they are entitled to can be accessed. Several combat arms earplug lawsuits were filed, all claiming that the company 3M, and the one prior to it, Aearo Technologies, were negligent in supplying the United States Defense Department with suitable and safe equipment for standard issue.