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New Hampshire 3M Earplug Lawyer

Military service members rely on earplugs to protect their hearing from gunshots, explosions, and other loud noises associated with active combat. Unfortunately, the 3M Company sold all 4 branches of the U.S. military defective Combat Arms Earplugs from 2003 to 2015, resulting in hundreds of thousands of soldiers subsequently developing temporary or permanent hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

What's the Problem With 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?

To date, nearly 300,000 lawsuits have been filed alleging that the design of the 3M earplugs was defective because it failed to adequately protect the ear during use. Combat Arms earplugs were originally designed and produced by Aearo Technologies in the early 2000's. 3M bought out Aearo in 2008, and continued to supply the military with earplugs until 2015.

3M Combat Arms Earplugs were designed with dual-sided hearing protection, with 1 side featuring noise dampening while simultaneously allowing the wearer to hear conversations and vocal commands. The other side was intended to provide total noise cancellation.

However, the lawsuits allege that due to a flaw in the design of the 3M earplugs and failure to warn of the defect by the manufacturer, the hearing of both active duty and retired military personnel was permanently compromised.

Related Article3M Earplug Lawsuit Update

Symptoms of Hearing Loss Caused by 3M Earplugs

The symptoms of hearing loss caused by the use of 3M military earplugs are the same as those of hearing loss caused by other factors. Whatever the source of your ear damage, the signs and symptoms of hearing loss may include:

  • Finding it difficult to understand speech, especially when spoken in a noisy or crowded setting
  • Speech and sounds are muffled, especially in noisy environments
  • Trouble hearing consonants
  • Having to turn up the volume to hear the radio or television
  • Repeatedly asking people to speak more loudly, clearly, and slowly
  • Withdrawing from conversations
  • Not attending or participating in certain social settings

Related Article: Hearing Loss Settlement Amounts

Did 3M Know About the Defect in the Earplugs?

In July 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that 3M had agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that the company knew about the problem with its Combat Arms Earplugs as early as 2000, yet continued to sell them to the military to maximize profits.

This failure to warn on the part of 3M knowingly put members of the U.S. military in danger of hearing loss and tinnitus. It is believed that hundreds of thousands of veterans and current military service members suffered hearing problems as a result of using defective 3M earplugs, and this is how much money veterans are getting from a 3M lawsuit.

Am I Eligible to File a 3M Earplug Lawsuit?

Individuals who may qualify to file a lawsuit against 3M over faulty earplugs include:

  • Veterans or active members of the U.S. military who served between 2003-2015
  • Those who wore the 3M defective earplugs during their training or active service
  • Those who suffer from tinnitus or permanent hearing loss

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Approximately 90% of people with tinnitus also develop hearing loss, though many people may not realize they have both conditions. Tinnitus typically follows a pattern of hearing loss.

If the person has trouble hearing high-frequency sounds, the tinnitus is often a high-pitched ringing or hissing. When the hearing loss is only in 1 ear, the tinnitus is likely only in that ear, and it will resolve with the use of a cochlear implant in that ear.

Related Article: Hearing Protection Lawsuit Update

3M Earplug Lawsuit Status Update

So many lawsuits have been filed against 3M that these claims currently account for over 30% of all cases currently pending in federal court. Most of the cases have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Florida before Judge Casey Rodgers. This MDL is the largest mass tort in U.S. history, with nearly 300,000 lawsuits filed.

To date, a total of 16 bellwether trials have been conducted. Of these, 3M has lost 10 cases, and the 13 plaintiffs in those cases have been awarded nearly $300 million in damages.

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