Combat Earplugs Failed to Protect Military Members from Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Martin & Jones attorneys are investigating cases on behalf of United States Military veterans who have suffered hearing loss or developed tinnitus due to defective “Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs.” The earplugs were manufactured by international conglomerate, 3M, and its affiliated company, Aearo Technologies, which distributed the earplugs to members of the U.S. military worldwide, including servicemen and women who were deployed to combat zones between 2003 and 2015.
The United States Military issued the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs to members of the Armed Forces to protect them from hearing loss caused by firearms, artillery and other combat-related noise. 3M sold the earplugs with the assurance that they could block harmful noise while allowing service members to hear intended communications.
In fact, the Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs (version 2) failed to provide adequate hearing protection causing both hearing loss and tinnitus in many service members. Tinnitus is described as a constant ringing and/or buzzing sound in the ears and can be triggered by loud noise or hearing loss. Many service members who used the defective earplugs now suffer from these hearing problems because the defective 3M earplugs did not provide the necessary protection. Since the early 2000’s 3M has faced criticism that its earplugs were defectively designed and often ineffective. In 2018, 3M entered into an agreement with the United States in which it agreed to reimburse the government for the defective earplugs, but that agreement did not provide compensation to service members.
Veterans who used the earplugs may have a claim and be entitled to compensation for hearing loss or tinnitus. Therefore, current or former military members who believe they may have suffered hearing loss or developed tinnitus despite using 3M earplugs should see their doctor to be tested for hearing impairments. Military personnel who used these 3M earplugs and have suffered hearing loss or developed tinnitus should contact an experienced product liability attorney at their earliest opportunity to obtain legal advice. All legal claims have time limits known as the “statute of limitations” or “statute of repose” which limit the time you have the right to bring a legal claim. These legal time limits can vary by state.
Hunt Willis, a Martin & Jones attorney and United States Army combat veteran who served in Iraq, is personally familiar with these ear plugs. Please call our experienced product liability attorneys, Hunt or attorney Carrie Guest, for a free consultation and no obligation review of your potential claim.