3M Company’s Defective Earplugs Plague Service Members – We’re Fighting Back
June 20th, 2019 by Wapner Newman
Hearing loss is the leading cause of disability among veterans. This condition makes life very difficult for sufferers, leading to impaired work capacity, an inability to sleep and a persistent, sometimes debilitating condition known as tinnitus.
Sadly, many servicemembers are suffering from hearing loss because they trusted a device provided to them during their time serving our country. Between 2003 and 2015, 3M Company sold defective earplugs to our military. Now, there are hundreds of complaints and several lawsuits being filed against 3M Company because of the hearing loss our servicemembers are experiencing.
3M Company Supposedly Knew About the Defects
3M Company allegedly knew about the defectiveness of their dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, while still selling it to servicemembers. In 2018, the Justice Department announced that it had reached a settlement with 3M Company as a result of a False Claims Act case. The U.S. government alleged that 3M Company “knew the CAEv2 was too short for proper insertion into users’ ears and that the earplugs could loosen imperceptibly and therefore did not perform well for certain individuals.”
It’s believed that Aearo Technologies, the company that originally sold these devices, knew the earplugs were defective as early as 2000. Yet Aearo Technologies, and later 3M Company, sold this device to our military. Many of the servicemembers using these devices served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The government also asserted that 3M did not disclose this design defect to the military. In other words, 3M Company allegedly knowingly sold defective earplugs to servicemembers with no regard to their health and safety. Though 3M Company settled with the government, they did not admit liability, and the settlement does not give compensation to injured servicemembers.
Servicemembers are Now Living with the Consequences
3M Company’s dual-sided earplugs were marketed as devices that would enable servicemembers to hear each other’s voices while still protecting them from hearing damage due to loud noises like blasts or gunshots. It turns out that this was too good to be true, and many of our servicemembers must now live with significant hearing loss.
Many servicemembers complain of one particularly challenging symptom of hearing loss: tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of a noise that isn’t really there. Tinnitus is usually a ringing or buzzing in the ears. One of the worst consequences of tinnitus is the inability to sleep. Anytime there is an absence of sound, a sufferer hears a constant noise that can be maddening.
It’s unjust that the men and women who served our country are now being forced to live with hearing loss and tinnitus. Servicemembers are completely within their rights to explore legal options against 3M Company.
Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller is Representing Servicemembers
We are proud to be able to stand up for the rights of our servicemembers. They’ve served our country, and they deserve to be given the compensation they are entitled to. If you or a loved one served our country and are now experiencing hearing loss because of faulty earplugs, you should contact our team today. Attorney Steve Brecher is accepting all inquiries about these cases.
Contact attorney Steven Brecher today to schedule your free consultation. We might be able to help you get much-needed compensation for the suffering you’ve experienced. Call (215) 569-0900 or fill out our online contact form to get started.