3M Company Agrees to $9.1 Settlement for Defective Military Earplugs
The 3M Company, a well-known manufacturer, recently settled claims filed by the U.S. Military over issues with their specially-designed earplugs that were used by troops in the field. There were two types of earplugs sold — a single-ended version and double-ended version. It was the dual-ended version that was deemed faulty and allegedly sold to the government without those defects being disclosed.
The dual-ended combat arms earplugs were created to protect the hearing of the person wearing them and were part of the standard issued materials dispensed by the armed services. Either end of the earplugs offered varying degrees of sound blockage and ear protection. One end allowed the wearer of the earplugs to hear some things, such as speech, while the other end protected the wearer from all sounds, such as explosions and gunfire.
The Defective Earplugs
While the design of the earplugs seemed to be promising, it was discovered that the stem of the earplugs was too short, which allowed them to become loose and permit destructive sounds to enter the ear. Because damaging sounds were getting through, hearing loss and tinnitus claims began skyrocketing among veterans and active-duty troops.
In July 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the 3M Company agreed to pay out $9.1 million in damages because of the defective earplugs. The lawsuit claimed that the company failed to disclose that the earplugs had potential design defects that could lead to hearing loss and tinnitus among the users. Although the company agreed to pay the settlement, they have still not admitted that they were wrong and have not accepted any liability for the injuries.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition in the ears that is characterized by continuous or intermittent ringing or other noises. The sounds occur in quiet surroundings and may include ringing, clicking, hissing, buzzing, whistling, or roaring that other people can not hear. It is common among veterans and troops due to their exposure to damaging levels of noise such as machinery, explosions, aircraft, gun fire, and more. Veterans and other military personnel who have been diagnosed with tinnitus have found that the condition can have life-altering consequences such as difficulty sleeping and completing every-day activities due to hearing complications, as well as trouble concentrating. In most situations, the condition is permanent and very little treatment is available.
Veterans and Troops Suffering From Hearing Loss
Not only did the use of the 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs lead to tinnitus, but it also led to hearing loss and impairment among troops. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent health issue for people in the U.S. military. It is often a permanent condition with long-term consequences. Symptoms of hearing loss may include difficulty hearing other people, ringing in the ears, or sensitivity to sound. One’s hearing may appear to fade away gradually as the condition worsens.
Compensation for Your Hearing Impairment or Loss
The 3M Company still claims no liability for the loss of hearing that brave U.S. troops and veterans suffered due to use of their defective earplugs. However, by agreeing to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice for $9.1 million, they seem to acknowledge that the military earplugs were defective. Because the settlement was made with the U.S. Department of Justice, the settlement money will not go directly to the military members who lost their hearing. For a veteran or service member to obtain compensation for the damage to or loss of his or her hearing, he or she must file a lawsuit against the 3M Company and any others involved.
Did You Suffer Due to Use of Defective Military Earplugs?
If you are currently enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces or are a U.S. Veteran who believes that your hearing loss, tinnitus, or other hearing symptoms could be related to the use of the 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, you need to speak to an experienced attorney as quickly as possible. Especially if your injuries are permanent and life-changing, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.
The attorneys at the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood believe that our wounded troops and veterans should be compensated for any disabilities they suffer due to their service when the disabilities could have been prevented. By working with our veteran and military disability lawyers, you will be more likely to receive the compensation that you deserve and get awarded the maximum benefits possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us ensure that your rights are protected.