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The government issues earplugs to help protect military service members from hearing loss during combat and training. One particular model—known as the 3M Combat Arms earplug—is shown to be defective, which places service members at unnecessary risk of permanent hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
If you or someone you love served in the U.S. military since 2003 and suffered permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, your earplugs may be to blame. Millions of dollars in compensation may be available to service members and veterans like you.
Combat Arms earplugs are known as “selective attenuation” earplugs because they can be inserted into the ear in one direction to hear speech or in the opposite direction to offer greater noise protection. To accomplish this dual functionality, the cone-shaped earplugs are connected by a central stem. Evidence shows that, due to the length of the stems, the ends of the earplugs cannot be inserted far enough into the ear to provide proper hearing protection.
Thousands of military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan were issued 3M dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs between 2003-2015 and, as a result, may now face permanent hearing loss and/or tinnitus—a condition that causes noise or ringing in the ears.
Combat Arms earplugs were first manufactured by a company called Aearo Technologies, which was later purchased by 3M. According to evidence filed in a government whistleblower lawsuit, Aearo was aware of defects in the earplug design as early as 2000. 3M and Aearo then manufactured test results to falsely claim the earplugs met the government’s standards for hearing protection.
As a result of the lawsuit, 3M agreed to pay a $9.1 million settlement to the United States Department of Justice. Our defective product lawyers are now pursuing cases on behalf of military service members who suffered hearing complications due to their defective earplugs.
If you or someone you love served in the military and suffered permanent hearing loss or tinnitus despite wearing earplugs, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Our attorneys have the knowledge and resources to hold government contractors accountable for their negligence, and we’re ready to help you protect your rights.
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