Effects of Using 3M® Earplugs in Combat

Defective combat earplugs were issued to various branches of the U.S. armed forces by 3M® during the War on Terror between 2003 and 2015.

Acute, long-term exposure to the sound of gunfire, loud explosions, and noise from military vehicles are just some of the causes risking hearing loss during combat among military personnel. 

Accordingly, wearing adequate hearing protection is indispensable to prevent exposure to hazardous noises and mitigate the chance of hearing loss and tinnitus, or ringing of the ears- the top two conditions for which soldiers are at the most risk. 

To fill the need for effective hearing protection for U.S. military members during combat, the armed forces procured earplugs from 3M®, which turned out to be defective, causing debilitating hearing problems and tinnitus in thousands of soldiers.

Who Was Affected and How?

The defective 3M® combat earplugs were issued to various branches of the U.S. armed forces by 3M® and its subsidiary Aearo Technologies Inc. during the War on Terror between 2003 and 2015. These included the U.S. Army, Airforce, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. 

As the earplugs had a manufacturing defect, they failed to provide the expected hearing protection to thousands, if not millions of military personnel, exposing them to harmful noise levels. The design flaw caused the earplugs to loosen imperceptibly while being worn as they did not perfectly fit into the ear canal, enabling dangerously loud sounds to penetrate the inner ears of military members. 

That caused thousands of military men and women to suffer permanent hearing impairments due to damage to the inner ear structures. 

Ear Damage Due to Defective Combat Earplugs 

The defective combat 3M® earplugs failed to provide adequate hearing protection and block out high-intensity impulse sounds. Consequently, about 300000 military veterans filed a product liability lawsuit against 3M® for providing defective 3M® combat earplugs, which led to tinnitus, deafness, and inner ear damage like vertigo.

U.S. Military Veterans With Hearing Damage and Tinnitus

The design defect in 3M® combat earplugs is believed to have caused severe hearing damage and tinnitus in thousands of military personnel. Tinnitus is a common disability for which servicemen and women seek medical attention.

As per the Hearing Health Foundation, almost three million U.S. veterans received compensation for hearing impairments and tinnitus in 2017. 

According to studies, hearing loss and tinnitus can subsequently cause depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, and stress, drastically decreasing the overall quality of life of the individual. 

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you are an active duty service member or a veteran suffering from hearing damage due to defective 3M® combat earplugs, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you claim the compensation you rightfully deserve for your losses!

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