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3M's Defective Earplug and the Case Against Them

Updated: Jan 13

In 2018, a lawsuit was filed against 3M Company for providing defective earplugs to veterans in the US military. The 3M earplug case alleges that the earplugs did not properly fit in the wearer’s ears, resulting in hearing loss and other hearing-related injuries. In this post, we will provide an overview of the lawsuits and what it means for veterans who may have been affected by 3M’s faulty earplugs.

In July 2018, a whistleblower lawsuit was filed against 3M. The suit alleged that 3M violated the False Claims Act by knowingly providing defective dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs to service members between 2003 and 2015 without informing them of the defect. It is estimated that more than 2 million service members were using these earplugs during this timeframe.

What Are Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs?

Dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs are designed to protect users from loud noises such as gunfire and explosions while still allowing them to hear some ambient noise. The earplug has two ends—one end is green, which can be used to block out all sound; while the other end is yellow, which can be used to allow some sound in. Unfortunately, due to a design defect, these particular earplugs did not fit properly in the user’s ears; as a result, they can become loose enough to allow sound through even when set on “block" mode (i.e., with the green end inserted). This would then expose users to potentially dangerous levels of loud noise without their knowledge or consent.

How Does This Affect Veterans?

3M’s dual-ended Combat Arms Ear Plugs were found to be defective due to their design flaw that could cause users to be exposed to potentially dangerous levels of loud noise without their knowledge or consent. Veterans who served between 2003 and 2015 may have been affected by this defect and could be at risk for hearing loss or other hearing-related injuries such as tinnitus. If you believe you have suffered any type of injury due to your military service involving these ear plugs, it is important that you speak with an experienced attorney who specializes in veterans' law right away so you can determine what legal options are available for seeking compensation.

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