What are 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?
3M’s Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) were originally developed in the early 2000's by Aearo Technologies, which 3M acquired in 2008. The earplugs were designed to protect users by filtering peak level noises. The plugs are dual-sided, with one side reducing sound but allowing the wearer to hear speech and orders when under fire while the other offers greater noise protection from loud noises such as gun shots and explosions.
What's the Problem with 3M Earplugs?
Lawsuits allege that 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were too short to be properly inserted into the user’s ear. The earplugs would gradually become looser without the user noticing. This made each user vulnerable to hearing damage the earplugs were designed to provide protection against.
Did 3M Know About the Earplug Defect?
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that 3M was aware of problems with the design of its Combat Arms Earplugs as far back as 2000 when the product failed safety tests. However, the company continued manufacturing and marketing the earplugs without warning those who bought and distributed them to service members.
In July 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to the federal government for failing to disclose the flaw in the earplug design.
Related Article: 3M Earplug Lawsuit Update
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus occurs when a person experiences ringing or other noises in one or both ears. The noise a person hears when they have tinnitus isn't caused by an external sound, and other people usually can't hear it.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states that hearing problems such as tinnitus, are “by far the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans.” In 2017, there were more than 1 million veterans receiving disability compensation for hearing loss and over 1.6 million receiving disability for tinnitus. The actual number may be even higher, as many do not report the problems or receive disability for them.
What to do if You Were Injured by 3M Earplugs
If you suffered hearing loss or tinnitus after using 3M Combat Arms Dual-Ended CAEv2 Earplugs, you may be entitled to compensation payout for your injuries. Our lawyers believe your safety as a military veteran should be of the highest priority, and you shouldn’t have to bear the costs of hearing damage caused by defective equipment out of your control.
To qualify for a 3M Earplug Lawsuit, you’ll need to have:
- Served in the military between 2003 and 2015
- Been issued the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) during your service time
- Been diagnosed with tinnitus or hearing loss
How Many 3M Earplug Lawsuits Have Been Filed?
As of July 2023, nearly 300,000 lawsuits have been filed over defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. The first complaint was filed against 3M in December 2018, and many quickly followed suit.
In October 2021, 3M was forced to pay $8.2 million in an earplug hearing loss lawsuit trial. Another large verdict came in December 2021, with $22.5 million awarded to a veteran in Florida. The largest verdict to date was awarded in January 2022, with 2 veterans receiving $110 million in damages.
More than 150 defective earplug lawsuits were filed in Minnesota, the home state of the 3M Company. Now, most of the suits have been consolidated into multi-district litigation in the Northern District of Florida. In May 2022, 3M was ordered to pay $2.2 million following a verdict in Florida.
See all related product liability lawsuits our attorneys have covered.
Get a Free 3M Earplug Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Attorneys
The Product Liability Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP is an experienced team of plaintiffs' lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in 3M Ear Plug lawsuits.
We handle individual litigation nationwide and accept personal injury legal action in all 50 states.
Free Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you suffered hearing damage, ear damage, or other side effects after using 3M earplugs, you should contact our law firm immediately using the contact form below. You may be entitled to financial compensation by filing a Lawsuit and our mass tort law firm can help.