3M Military Earplug Injury Lawsuit
3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 were supplied to the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015 and designed with the intent to help protect users by filtering peak-level noises. However, many service members have since suffered hearing loss and/or tinnitus. Gordon & Partners is actively reviewing these claims. You may be eligible to seek compensation to help cover medical costs.
A defective product lawyer from Gordon & Partners is here to discuss your situation and available legal options in a complimentary and confidential consultation. There is no risk in calling us and no obligation to hire our firm. In over 25 years, we have successfully recovered hundreds of millions in compensation on behalf of our clients. Founding partner Robert Gordon is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer.
There are no upfront fees to retain our services and no fees while we investigate or work on a case. Our lawyers do not receive payment unless we help you obtain compensation via a settlement or verdict.
Talk to a lawyer today. Ph: 1 (855) 722-2552
Am I Eligible to Seek Compensation?
Our firm is prepared to determine your eligibility in a free case consultation. You may be eligible if you wore these military-issued 3M earplugs and meet the criteria as follows:
- You served in the U.S. military anytime from 2003 to 2015
- You were exposed to explosions and loud noises during service
- You have been diagnosed with hearing loss and/or tinnitus
- You received your diagnosis during service or within one year of discharge
There are also factors unique to your situation that will need to be taken into consideration, such as your specific diagnosis, how often you used the earplugs, and if you knew about the potential risks of using this product. Your medical records can help show the severity and extent of your hearing issues:
- Whether you have partial or complete hearing loss in one or both ears
- Whether your tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is intermittent or constant
- Hearing loss treatments you have undergone to help with nerve damage
- If any treatments have improved your hearing or has it stayed the same
- Doctors’ notes detailing the likelihood of getting your hearing back
- If your hearing loss is temporary and can be restored or it is permanent
There are specific deadlines to take legal action. This is why we recommend consulting with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. See how we may be able to help at no upfront cost to you.
Will Filing a Lawsuit Affect My Disability Benefits?
Filing a 3M earplug injury lawsuit is not likely to have any impact on your chances of receiving disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or Social Security Administration. However, this is something that our lawyers are prepared to discuss with you. A representative is available 24/7 to take your call and schedule a free consultation.
What is the Potential Value of My Case?
The potential value of your case will depend on your diagnosis and how it has impacted your daily life. You may be eligible to seek compensation to cover medical costs to treat your hearing loss or tinnitus, including the cost of:
- Hospital stays
- Doctors’ fees
- Hearing aids
- Assistive devices
You may also be eligible to seek compensation for lost wages and lost benefits from not working while in recovery. If your injuries are severe enough that you cannot return to work, you may be compensated for diminished future potential earnings. Your age, work history, skills and education will be factored in.
In addition to economic damages, noneconomic damages may also be obtainable. Examples include compensation for pain and suffering and emotional anxiety you have experienced as well as diminished quality of life.
Our lawyers at Gordon & Partners are prepared to fight for maximum compensation.
Use of 3M Earplugs Across U.S. Military
The 3M earplugs became standard issue equipment for military services members between 2003 and 2015. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) had an exclusive contract with global manufacturing giant 3M. The original earplugs manufacturer was Aearo Technologies, which was bought by 3M in 2008.
The dual-ended earplugs were supposed to significantly reduce the volume of explosions and other loud combat noises (i.e. aircraft, artillery and guns) from harming the inner ear. The earplugs allowed service members to hear quieter noises to still relay instructions and talk freely with one another.
However, there were major design flaws with the 3M earplugs. Solders had issues fitting their helmets properly using these earplugs. 3M decided to modify the design by shortening the earplugs.
While the redesign helped the helmets fit better, the stems of the earplug no longer went deep into normal or large ear canals. If the stem is too short, it cannot block the ear canal with an airtight seal and provide adequate hearing protection.
This defective design often rendered the earplugs completely ineffective at blocking loud sounds and over time could loosen within the ear or fall out. Unfortunately, many service members were routinely using the earplugs, completely unaware that the earplugs were not working as intended.
How Military Service Members Are Affected
Hearing loss or tinnitus is a serious impairment that can greatly affect military service members, both active and retired. Not only can it lower their quality of life, but it can also cause a great deal of emotional and psychological pain. Symptoms of hearing damage could include:
- Ear ringing or buzzing
- Muffled sound
- Loss of equilibrium
- Trouble sleeping
- Irritability and anxiety
- Ear pain
- Ear infections
- Neck aches
If you or someone you care about has suffered hearing damage or loss caused by 3M earplugs, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible and then contact Gordon & Partners for legal help.
Free Case Evaluation. Ph: 1 (855) 722-2552
Did 3M Know the Earplugs Were Dangerous?
It is possible. In 2018, 3M agreed to a $9.1 million settlement of a federal whistleblower in order to resolve allegations that the company knowingly sold defective earplugs to the government.
3M and Aearo Technologies were also sued by Moldex-Metric Inc. in 2016 over allegations that they defrauded the government by manufacturing and selling earplugs to the DOD they knew were defective. The lawsuit alleges the fraud committed by these companies likely resulted in thousands of military service members suffering from significant hearing damage or loss.
Although 3M did not admit liability in the settlement, the lawsuit has offered some insight into what 3M knew and should have known about the earplugs. The company knew that the earplugs were too short and could loosen from the ear and yet they failed to disclose this to the U.S. military.
It was also revealed that testing done by 3M in January of 2000 found that the earplugs were defective. 3M decided to falsify the test results to say that the earplugs complied with military safety standards.
Earplug Injury Lawsuits Filed Against 3M
The first round of bellwether trials in the 3M earplug multidistrict litigation (MDL) are underway in Florida. The outcome of these trials will determine what happens in this litigation moving forward.
If these trials are successful, it could be a step toward the settlement of other cases. There are currently 229,111 pending cases as of April 15, 2021, making it one of the largest MDLs in U.S. history.
Set up a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Claim
If you are a veteran or active military service member who used 3M earplugs and have since been diagnosed with hearing loss and/or tinnitus, Gordon & Partners is here to help. You may be eligible to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.
Our defective product lawyers are committed to helping injured military personnel and veterans obtain the justice and compensation they need. Call to schedule a free consultation to get started. There is no obligation after this meeting to retain our services, but if you do, we charge no upfront fees.