Military service is associated with many risks, from training exercises to live combat. But one risk that few servicemembers think about is hearing loss. That’s because military servicemembers are given earplugs, which are designed to protect their ears from loud noises. Unfortunately, one of the most commonly assigned earplugs—3M’s Combat Arms—is now known to be defective and incapable of protecting users from loud noises.
The earplugs are designed to be used in two different configurations. One configuration was designed to block most noise but still allow users to hear voice commands, while the other side was designed to offer even greater noise protection for wearers in training situations or live combat. But the side designed for greater noise protection failed to offer adequate protection, resulting in serious hearing damage in countless servicemembers.
The first company to produce the earplugs, Aearo Technologies, was aware of the design defects as early as 2000. And when Aearo was purchased by 3M in 2008, both companies falsified test results to claim the earplugs meet the government’s standards for hearing protection. Upon discovery of this, 3M was forced to pay the U.S. Department of Justice more than $9 million. However, that money did not go to veterans or servicemembers whose hearing was damaged by the earplugs.
At Ferrer Poirot Feller Daniel, it’s our goal to help veterans whose hearing was harmed or lost due to defective earplugs get compensation. Hearing loss can be devastating, and it can significantly impact your daily life, your relationships, and your ability to work or succeed in your career. Contact our defective product lawyers today for a free consultation.