Can You Claim Compensation Following 3M-Earplug-Related Hearing Loss?
When you’re a military member, earplugs are very important. If you’re deployed to any combat zones, such as Afghanistan or Iraq, then you need protection for your ears, which can block out explosions and similar noises.
3M earplugs were very popular for this. The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were used by lots of military members, from Navy SEALS to Marines, but allegations soon began to appear under provisions of the False Claims Act. Apparently, there was a huge design flaw in the earplugs.
They had a symmetrical shape and were way too short and many troops and veterans experienced tinnitus and even hearing loss. If you’re in the same boat, you may be wondering if you can claim compensation after hearing loss caused by these defective products.
Here’s everything you need to know.
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How Do the 3M-Earplug-Related Hearing Loss?
When you buy a product for a main purpose but it’s unable to fulfill what the manufacturer promised, then you can say it’s not functional. This is the case with 3M’s earplugs. The earplugs did not work the way they were supposed to, leading to hearing damage.
Some people experience tinnitus after using the 3M earplugs and this symptom is associated with an underlying condition related to hearing loss. You will recognize tinnitus easily – it causes noises like ringing, roaring, hissing, and buzzing in your ear, which is not caused by anything outside the ear.
Some military members even experience obvious hearing loss, which is either partial or full.
The Defects of the 3M Earplugs
3M earplugs were made specifically for military members. There were two sides to them – one colored olive and the other colored yellow.
The purpose of the yellow-colored side was to allow for quieter sounds to be heard, such as friendly soldiers’ commands. At the same time, they could reduce extremely loud noises coming from explosions and anything of the sort.
On the other hand, the olive-colored side was used to block out all sounds.
There was one problem with the design of the earplugs, though. They were way too short. Besides, each plug’s seal inside the ear of the user became loose over time. So, the users were not getting proper protection from the noise, which is why hearing damage occurred.
The company also falsely advertised its products. Apparently, the earplugs were made to follow up to the standards, and thus it was stated that the noise reduction rating of the plugs was 22. However, the earplugs had an actual noise reduction rating of 10.9 in reality, which is why hearing damage was possible. This rating was way below the standard.
The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit
The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit began as a result of the hearing loss experienced by soldiers who used 3M earplugs.
Back between 2003 and 2015, 3M was the main dual-sided earplug provider for all U.S. military branches. However, the multinational corporation falsified test results for the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2. As a result, defective versions were given to many military members, which put everyone at risk of tinnitus or hearing loss without their knowledge.
So, a $9.1 million settlement with the company resolved allegations that the firm put defective earplugs on sale for the Defense Logistics Agency.
Can You Find Out If Your Hearing Issues Were Caused by 3M Earplugs?
There were millions of 3M Combat Arms earplugs supplied to military bases and the products were discontinued only in 2015.
If you were a military member during this time and you’ve experienced any hearing loss symptoms, then your hearing problems may have been caused by faulty earplugs. These products were given to troops during various military conflicts, including:
- War in Iraq
- Operation Ocean Shield
- Yemeni Civil War
- War in North-West Pakistan
- War in Somalia
- War in Afghanistan
- American-led intervention in Libya
- American-led intervention in Iraq
- American-led intervention in Syria
Are You Eligible for the Lawsuit?
Determining your eligibility for the lawsuit involves several factors. If you satisfy the following criteria, you may be deemed eligible:
- You have received a tinnitus or hearing loss diagnosis
- You were given dual-sided 3M Combat Arms Earplugs
- You have been in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015
Washington places 6th in the number of active-duty military in the nation. It has 55,155 military personnel, as well as 11,366 reservists and 90,246 dependents. So, if you were in the military in Washington and you’ve experienced hearing loss from 3M earplugs, you can file a 3M earplug lawsuit with the help of an experienced attorney.