Defective Combat Earplugs And Hearing Loss
- Did you serve in the military between 2003 and 2015?
- Were you deployed to a combat zone during that time?
- Have you been diagnosed with unilateral or bilateral hearing loss?
Our firm is reviewing cases on behalf of victims who may have lost some or all of their hearing due to a defective combat earplug.
For over a decade, manufacturers sold defective combat earplugs to the U.S. military
Between 2003 and 2015, the U.S. military purchased 2.2 million Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2). These earplugs were used by service members in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Originally, these combat earplugs were manufactured by Aearo Technologies. In 2008, the Minnesota-based conglomerate 3M acquired Aearo and continued to supply the military until 2015.
In 2016, a whistleblower lawsuit was filed under the False Claims act alleging that Aearo and 3M had defrauded the U.S. military by selling these combat earplugs despite knowing they were defective.
The complaint alleges that the companies knew the earplugs were too short to insert into the ear canal and obtain a proper fit. For some wearers, the earplug would loosen and fail to maintain a tight seal, allowing sound to bypass the earplug altogether and damage the wearer’s hearing.
According to the federal complaint, Aearo was aware of these dangerous defects as early as 2000, three years before it started selling the earplugs to the military. Aearo, and later 3M, expressly stated that the earplugs were in compliance with military standards even though they knew they were not. The complaint alleges that the companies did not disclose this dangerous defect and did not provide adequate instructions on how to use the earplugs safely.
Millions of service members may have been affected. We can help.
For military members who are frequently exposed to very loud sounds caused by firearms and explosives, functional hearing protection is vitally important. Furthermore, as the earplugs were found to loosen even in a controlled laboratory setting, the risk of failure was surely much higher for soldiers in combat.
Between 2003 and 2015, there were over 1.5 million military members deployed to US war zones. As such, a vast number of service members may have been affected by this dangerous product.
If you or a loved one was deployed during this time and used the Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs, Version 2, you may be eligible for financial compensation from 3M. In order to be eligible, you must have been diagnosed with hearing loss and not have any of the following conditions: Waardenburg syndrome, Branchiootorenal syndrome, Stickler syndrome, Usher syndrome, Pendred syndrome, Alport syndrome, Otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease.