What's the Problem with 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?
3M Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 (caev2) were supposed to provide hearing protection to military personnel in 2 ways. When users inserted the earplugs 1 way, it would allow them to block loud noise but still hear softer sounds, such as communications and approaching enemies.
If the wearer inserted the earplugs the other direction, all noise, including gun shots, explosions, and heavy machinery, were supposed to be blocked out.
However, a flaw in the design of the 3M earplugs made them too short and allowed them to gradually loosen without the wearer noticing it, leaving that person exposed to damaging combat noises.
While wearing Combat Arms Earplugs may have created the illusion of adequate hearing protection, the defect allowed loud noises to enter the ear canal, and now many U.S. military veterans and current service members have developed hearing loss and/or tinnitus as a result.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss / Tinnitus from 3M Earplugs
Being exposed to loud noises can cause hearing loss and/or tinnitus. Common symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Temporary loss of hearing that can return within 48 hours
- Muffled or distorted sounds
- Difficulty hearing people's voices when they talk
- Having to increase the volume of electronic devices
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when there is none present. Common symptoms of tinnitus include:
- Constant ringing, buzzing, clicking, roaring, humming, or hissing in your ears
- Inability to concentrate
- Problems hearing external sounds
- Difficulty sleeping
- Depression, anxiety, irritability
- Difficulty remembering things
If you are a military veteran or current service member in Pennsylvania who has suffered from any of the above symptoms after using 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, a personal injury lawyer from the law offices of Schmidt & Clark, LLP, can help you obtain the just compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Related Article: 3M Hearing Protection Lawsuit
DOJ Resolves Defective Earplugs Lawsuit Against 3M
In a 2016 whistleblower lawsuit filed on behalf of the Federal Government, a qui tam plaintiff alleged that 3M and its subsidiary, Aero Technologies, were aware of the design defect in Combat Arms Earplugs as early as 2000, when tests revealed that the products failed to produce any noise-reduction benefit.
However, 3M continued selling the CAEv2 earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency until 2015. In its response to the complaint, 3M admitted that Aearo had tested the earplugs in 2000 and that the tests came back with a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 0.
Related Article: 3M Earplug Lawsuit Update
What are 3M Earplug Lawsuits Alleging?
More than 300,000 lawsuits are currently pending against 3M in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Florida. These complaints allege that 3M:
- Designed defective Combat Arms Earplugs that did not seal in the ear to keep out loud noises
- Failed to adequately warn the military about this problem
- Failed to provide proper instructions to ensure the 3M earplugs worked as intended
Will Filing a 3M Earplug Lawsuit Affect My VA Disability Benefits?
Our lawyers have learned that many injured veterans receive partial disability and hearing aids from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but they may still be entitled to compensation from 3M for injuries they suffered from Combat Arms Earplugs.
Please Note: We are only pursuing lawsuits against 3M, not the U.S. Government or armed services. If you qualify, you can join with other veterans and current service members in pursuing your legal rights against 3M.
Last 3M Bellwether Trial Ends in $77.5 Million Award for Plaintiff
The 16th and final 3M Earplug bellwether trial concluded on May 20th, 2022, with a massive $77.5 million verdict in favor of plaintiff James Beal, a veteran of the U.S. Army. This was the largest award to date, which included $72.5 million in punitive damages.
The verdict was a major blow to 3M, not only due to the financial loss but also for how it may set the stage for the hundreds of thousands of other lawsuits currently pending against the company.
Juries found in favor of the plaintiffs in 10 of the 16 bellwether trials conducted. The plaintiffs were awarded over $300 million, resulting in an average 3M lawsuit payout of $30 million per trial.
See all related product liability lawsuits our attorneys have covered.