3M is facing lawsuits over allegations that the company’s Combat Arms Earplugs are linked to an increased risk of hearing loss in veterans. The company is facing hundreds of lawsuits filed by veterans of the U.S. armed forces over allegations that 3M’s earplugs were inadequate to protect the hearing of service personnel during combat, causing them to suffer hearing damage.
Between 2003 and 2015, 3M supplied the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force with earplugs known as Combat Arms Ear Plugs Version 2, or CAEv2. These earplugs were designed to protect the ears of soldiers and other military personnel from hearing damage caused by explosions, gunfire, or other loud noises.
However, according to tests performed by Aero Technologies – the company that originally manufactured the 3M earplugs – Combat Arms version 2 was less than 50% effective at reducing loud noises as the minimum noise reduction rating (NPR) required by the U.S. military. Other tests have found that the Combat Arms earplugs were too short to be properly inserted in the ear canal, which could cause them to become loosened.
As a result of these defects, soldiers who were issued 3M’s earplugs and exposed to loud noises during combat could suffer permanent hearing loss. But despite the findings of tests performed by Aero Technologies, Aero and 3M falsely certified to the U.S. military that Combat Arms earplugs would adequately protect soldiers’ hearing during combat. As a result, millions of veterans were placed at risk of hearing damage, hearing loss, tinnitus, or other ear injuries.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 900,000 servicemen and women received compensation for hearing loss in 2014, the most recent year for which records are available. Nearly 1.3 million veterans received compensation for tinnitus during that same year.
Hundreds of military veterans have filed lawsuits against 3M over hearing loss or other injuries caused by the company’s Combat Arms earplugs. In addition, 3M is also facing class action lawsuits filed on behalf of veterans who suffered damage to their hearing after being issued the company’s earplugs during combat.
Veterans With Hearing Loss May Qualify to File a Lawsuit
3M’s Combat Arms earplugs are recognizable by their distinctive yellow and black dual-ended shape. When they are worn with the black end inserted in the ear, the earplugs work just like normal earplugs. When the earplugs are worn with the yellow end inserted, the product allows speech or other low-level sounds to be heard, while still blocking out explosions, gunfire, or other loud noises.
If you or a loved one served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines between 2003 and 2015 and were diagnosed with hearing loss after being issued 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. The first step in finding out if you qualify is to speak with an attorney for a free legal consultation regarding your case.
The lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend have represented thousands of clients across the United States who have been injured by defective consumer products. Our law firm has also represented thousands of individuals who have been hurt as a result of exposure to asbestos, or because of defective drugs or medical devices.
For more information about filing a lawsuit against 3M and to find out if you qualify, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-275-4454, or by following this link to our free online case evaluation form.