3M Defective Earplugs Veterans Settlement

3M Defective Earplugs Veterans Settlement

If you or a loved one was or is on active duty you may have heard that the manufacturer 3M has agreed to pay a $9.1 million settlement in response to allegations that the company knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military.

According to officials, the 3M company sold dual-ended Combat Earplugs, Version 2, without disclosing a design defect may decrease the effectiveness of the product. Servicemen and women in the Army, Air force, and Navy who used the earplugs had no way of knowing the earplugs were defective.

The earplugs were provided to the military in order to protect their hearing and to prevent long-term conditions/disabilities like hearing loss and tinnitus. The Centers for Disease Control reports Veterans are 30% more likely than nonveterans to suffer some degree of hearing impairment.   

As of the close of fiscal year 2014, more than 933,000 Veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss, and nearly 1.3 million received compensation for tinnitus. In addition, many Veterans score normally on hearing tests but have difficulty understanding speech. This condition, called auditory processing disorder, is often associated with blast exposure.- U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Treatment for Veterans who suffer from hearing loss and/or tinnitus varies. Audiology.org reports “…the severity of hearing loss sometimes can be reduced, improved, or reversed through surgery or medication. In many cases hearing loss is permanent; however, hearing aids and other hearing assistive technologies can help to improve hearing and communication abilities. Tinnitus, another condition that many veterans suffer with, is the number one disability among veterans. People with tinnitus may experience ringing sounds, a buzzing noise, a high-pitched whistle, or numerous other sounds.”

Those behind the whistleblower lawsuit allege the 3M companies were aware the earplugs were not long enough to adequately insert into all soldier’s’ ears. The suit also alleges the companies falsified test results in order to comply with government mandated safety requirements.

If you served between 2001 and 2015 you may be able to qualify to join this lawsuit and potentially receive additional compensation for your ringing, tinnitus or hearing loss. Click here to contact us today.