Defective 3M Combat Earplugs
From 2003 until 2015 the U.S. military provided its service members defective 3M combat earplugs that were meant to protect the hearing of our nation’s defenders, but in reality offered little to no help at all. As a result, no branch of the military was spared this travesty: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard—anyone in active duty was susceptible to partial or total hearing loss, as well as tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
What Is the 3M Combat Earplugs Lawsuit?
3M sold their Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) to each branch of the military between 2003 and 2015. 3M’s CAEv2 earplugs were standard equipment during that time, and the only available option to military personnel for attenuation earplugs.
In July 2018, the Department of Justice announced that 3M had agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle a whistleblower suit accusing 3M of knowingly selling defective earplugs to the U.S. military.
The settlement was driven by allegations that 3M, and its predecessor Aearo Technologies Inc., sold the CAEv2 Earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency knowing they were too short to be properly inserted into a user’s ears.
Junell & Associates is now actively involved in the multidistrict litigation surrounding 3M earplugs, in part because this is a larger issue than it seems at first, and the effects of hearing loss or tinnitus can be devastating. Approximately 60% of all military personnel report hearing loss after leaving the military, and the fact that 3M contributed to the detrimental health of our nation’s protectors is indefensible.
Problems with 3M Combat Earplugs
When Aearo Technologies first developed these dual-sided earplugs, they were only tested on 10 people before being rolled out to the entire military. As if that’s not enough, Aearo did not disclose that the earplugs weren’t effective unless an outer flange was pulled back to an uncomfortable degree so that the plugs would stay in place and diffuse harmful noise. Aside from not being an intuitive way to use earplugs in the first place, there is also a stem in the middle of the plugs that prevents either side from staying in place.
Serious Side Effects Associated With Defective 3M Combat Earplugs
- Partial hearing loss
- Total hearing loss
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears – seemingly innocuous but often debilitating and life-altering)
Did you serve in the military between 2003 – 2015? Did you wear these earplugs? Were you diagnosed by the military as having hearing loss and/or tinnitus? If so, we want to talk to you. Please fill out the form on this page, or call the 800 # number above, and let us help you like we’ve helped thousands before.