Picture of Defective Military Earplugs

Legal Action for Defective Military Earplugs

Loud noises such as explosions and gunfire, especially in combat situations, are part of serving in the military.  Unfortunately, many servicemen and women were unnecessarily exposed to defective earplugs which failed to protect against hearing loss.  Military contractor 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, manufactured and sold Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2).  Design defects in these earplugs have affected thousands of veterans.  Our law firm is actively investigating these cases.  If you served in the armed forces and were injured because of defective earplugs, we may be able to help.

3M’s earplugs were standard issue for active duty military members deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They came equipped with a special dual-purpose technology.  All sounds were blocked out when the earplugs were worn on one end.  When worn on the other end, high-decibel noises were blocked out but verbal commands could still be heard.

But there was a significant design flaw with these earplugs: they did not correctly fit into the ear canal.  As a result, they could become loose and allow high-decibel sounds to enter the ear canal, causing hearing damage.  

3M was allegedly aware of this defect as early as 2000.  Yet they chose to sell the earplugs to the military anyway.  There are even allegations that these companies manipulated test results to falsely misrepresent the safety of their earplugs.  In 2018, 3M agreed to a $9.1 million settlement with the Department of Defense.  Veterans who used these earplugs and served from 2003 to 2015 may be entitled to compensation.  If you have been injured, keep records of your health conditions and contact our law firm.

The following are signs of hearing loss problems:

  • Tinnitus
  • Buzzing sounds in the ears
  • Trouble hearing someone on the phone
  • Difficulty understanding speech
  • Requiring a hearing aid
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance

A 2003 Veterans Affairs report indicated that tinnitus and other hearing loss problems were the third most common service-related disability.  Auditory system injuries can have significant health consequences for veterans.  These may include anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional conditions. Hearing loss also makes it more difficult to find gainful employment and adjust to civilian life after the military.  

3M’s and Aearo Technologies’ greed and negligence have caused many veterans and active duty military members to suffer unnecessary injury.  Those who have been affected could be entitled to significant financial compensation for medical bills and related costs.  Many veterans will require future treatment or even rehabilitation for their injuries.  These expenses, too, may be recoverable in a mass tort lawsuit.  A legal claim can also seek recovery for such damages as pain and suffering and loss of consortium.  Any veterans who have experienced work-related injuries such as lost time from work should also seek legal counsel.  Decreased earning capacity because of hearing loss can also form the basis of recovery.

Ask your doctor if you have any signs of hearing loss.  Make sure you follow your physician’s recommendations for treatment as well.  A medical diagnosis of hearing loss or tinnitus will be required if you seek compensation.  It is suggested that you obtain copies of your medical records and document any sort of treatment you receive.  We also advise that you keep any evidence of costs associated with your treatment, including travel expenses.  

If You’re a Veteran Injured by Defective Earplugs, Give Us a Call

Our veterans represent the best of our country.  They deserve adequate protection from avoidable injuries such as hearing loss.  But 3M and Aearo Technologies knowingly sold defective and low quality earplugs to the Department of Defense.  This is a betrayal of all those who have served.  If you or a loved one served and were injured by CAEv2 earplugs, call Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. today.  We will investigate your claims and let you know if you qualify for compensation.

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