The law firm of Dalimonte Rueb Stoller is actively assessing claims where both veterans and personnel who are on duty have suffered severe hearing damage after they wore faulty Version 2 – CAEv2, 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. If you’ve also used these 3M earplugs while you served in the U.S. military anywhere between 2003 to 2015, you’re possibly entitled to receiving compensation.
Minnesota based, 3M Company provided the United States military with these specially designed earplugs. They were mainly used during combat to protect the hearing of soldiers on the field. 3M designed the earplugs to simply block out blasts, and other extremely deafening noises when they were running tests on the bases as well. However, the earplugs were still supposed to ensure that the soldiers could still hear anyone who spoke to them.
With that said, 3M failed to notify the U.S. government that a number of the earplugs were defective. Due to this, users could suffer from complete or partial hearing loss as they served in the military. As such, our skilled class action lawyers believe that both veterans and active-duty personnel should be compensated for this disservice.
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Why Are The Earplugs Believed To Cause Harm?
Military personnel who served on areas of high conflict such as Afghanistan and Iraq used the 3M product in question during the period between 2003 to 2015. As a result, this could have caused full hearing loss, partial hearing loss or tinnitus. 3M designed the earplugs to allow free communication between soldiers while protecting against loud noises and explosions. The earplugs were designed by Aearo Tech and were acquired in 2008 by 3M.
It was only after 10 years that someone stepped forward and warned about the flaws of the design. After investigations, it was found out that 3M paid $9.1 million to the federal government in order to resolve any allegations. This was done to cover up even though 3M supplied the product while being fully aware of design flaws. On a lighter note, these earplugs are discontinued.
How Do These Earplugs Cause Harm?
The earplugs had an alleged flaw which was centered around its symmetrical design. The fitting instructions provided could have resulted in the earplugs becoming loosened and easily allowing noise to get in. This was the main cause of how hearing damages occurred and users later experienced total hearing loss, partial hearing loss, and a ringing in their ears.
How Can You File A 3M Earplugs Lawsuit?
If you’re interested in filing a lawsuit, you must first be diagnosed with tinnitus by a medical professional. You should have also been discharged from the U.S. military or have a loss of hearing impairment rating according to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. Additionally, you should have also served from 2003 to 2015. Veterans and active personnel could be compensated if they fit the criteria.
What Are The Earplugs That Have Been Linked To Hearing Issues?
The earplugs in question are the 3M dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs. These plugs were used by service members between 2003 to 2015 and exposed them to product design failure. As such, they would have been subjected to the possibility of suffering from complete or partial hearing loss.
Additionally, soldiers did file reports that indicated that the earplugs were too short to properly fit inside their ear. This led to external noise being able to make its way to the inner ear causing damage.
Why Were 3M Earplugs Used By Military Personnel and How Were They Supposed to Work?
Personnel within the armed forces are required to wear earplugs to protect them against hearing loss. However, 3M earplugs were made to be inserted in 2 ways. When the earplugs were worn in the first position, they claimed to protect the user from loud noises that came from vehicular noises, heavy equipment, roadside bombs, and gunfire tanks. When worn in the second position, they claimed to reduce artillery fire and explosions to only a muffle.
The 3M product was provided under contract and claimed that they would protect the hearing abilities of those who wore them. Later on, several veterans came forward and made complaints which indicated that 3M wasn’t effective in disclosing the defects and possibility of wearers suffering severely form hearing loss.
What Problems Were Reported By Soldiers?
The combat earplugs supplied by 3M were much shorter. This meant that they couldn’t effectively fit into a human ear. This caused the earplugs to become very loose as time passed and subjected everyone to hearing loss. Tinnitus, permanent hearing loss and balance problems are some of the long-term related issues reported by veterans.
3M made false claims about their products and left everyone to believe that their product offered sufficient protection. They made them feel that they would be protected from hearing damages during their training. However, this was not the case.
What Is Military Hearing Loss Or Tinnitus?
Hearing loss is commonly reported by service members. They also sometimes suffer from tinnitus which creates a hissing, buzzing, or ringing sound within their ears. When they are affected by this condition, it becomes very hard for them to hear someone speaking from 3 ft away.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has estimated that there are close to 2.7 million veterans who are already receiving disability for tinnitus or their hearing loss which came from their time serving. Tinnitus is quite common and could have been reported by persons who didn’t even know that they were wearing the earplugs by the 3M Company.
How Many Earplugs Did 3M Supply Under The Contract?
3M supplied more than 15000 packages that contained 50 pairs of earplugs in each package. This was provided every year from 2006 since they had a contract with the Department of Defense.
Have Any Lawsuits Been Filed Regarding Defective Earplugs By 3M?
In 2016, the distribution company for 3M made claims of its concern to the government. However, a qui tam suit was filed because of the earplugs. They stated that it was alleged that 3M made incorrect and deceptive claims for its product. Also, they didn’t disclose any of the flaws associated with the design of the earplugs.
In 2018, the Justice Department settled with 3M where they received $9.1 million.
Service members could be entitled to compensation by taking their own legal action. During the year of 2019, there were already hundreds of lawsuits filed against 3M for the faulty earplugs.
Who Can Participate In A Lawsuit Over Defective Earplugs Supplied By 3M?
The lawsuit against 3M by the government compensated only the government and not service members. Users of the 3M earplugs who served in the U.S. military anywhere between 2003 to 2015 and diagnosed with hearing loss could be entitled to receive compensation.
If you’re wondering whether or not your hearing damages were caused by the faulty 3M earplugs, you should contact any of our specially trained product liability lawyers. Our liability lawyers are experienced in dealing with these cases. Contact us at the Dalimonte Rueb Stoller law firm to discuss your available options today.