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 Article: 3M 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.
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.