During the past few years, hundreds of veterans have sued 3M after they suffered hearing loss due to defective earplugs that were issued to them during training exercises and live combat. The earplugs, known as 3M Combat Arms, are dual-sided, with one side blocking virtually all noise and the other side allowing wearers to still hear voice commands.
However, the earplugs didn’t work the way they were supposed to, putting servicemembers at serious risk of hearing loss when exposed to loud noises. The result is that thousands of military members, including those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, didn’t have adequate hearing protection either in combat situations or during training scenarios where loud noises were commonplace.
To make matters worse, the original manufacturer of the earplugs, Aearo Technologies, was aware of the design defects as far back as 2000. The company was purchased by 3M in 2008, and 3M was also aware of the dangers when the transaction took place. However, the earplugs weren’t recalled and continued to be issued to servicemembers.
Because of this oversight, 3M paid the U.S. Department of Justice nearly $10 million, but that sum doesn’t include compensation for injured servicemembers. Some of those veterans have already sued 3M for compensation, and more are joining them every day. If you or someone you love was harmed by defective 3M earplugs, our lawyers want to help.