Earplugs sold to the government and US Military for the purposes of protecting the hearing of service members were allegedly defective and could have led to significant hearing loss or tinnitus.
Active duty military members or veterans who were given standard issue military earplugs between 2002 and 2015 could have suffered due to the this product. If you or someone you know suffered hearing loss or tinnitus despite wearing these earplugs for military training or service, you could be eligible to seek compensation with the help of a 3M defective earplugs lawyer. Reach out to an experienced attorney today for a consultation.
History of the Earplugs
Dual Ended Combat Arms Earplugs were originally manufactured in the 1990s by a company called Aearo Technologies. The Department of Justice accused that manufacturer of becoming aware of design flaws as early as 2000, but this design defect was not disclosed to the military when the contract was finalized.
Since these earplugs were provided through a defense contract, thousands of servicemembers could have used these devices without realizing they were the core cause of tinnitus.
According to complaints from some people who used these and then developed tinnitus or other hearing conditions, the earplugs loosened over time. The resulting open space in the ear could prevent the earplugs from working properly, leading to significant hearing damage.
Investigations into the Defective Earplugs
A US Department of Justice investigation found that these earplugs were not created appropriately for insertion into the users’ ears, meaning that the device could loosen over time and put service members at risk for hearing impairment, permanent hearing loss, or tinnitus.
In July 2018, 3M settled with the DOJ for over $9 million. The lawsuit was based on allegations of False Claims Act violations through the sale of these earplugs to the US military.
Impact of Tinnitus on Military Members
Hearing loss and tinnitus from military service is frequently associated with noise exposure that occurs during training and combat. Military earplugs are given to service members to help to protect them from dangerous sound levels linked to roadside bombs, gunfire, tanks, aircraft, heavy equipment, and more.
Hearing loss can make it difficult for a person to hear, concentrate, or sleep due to hissing, ringing or buzzing sounds in their ears. Over 2.7 million veterans currently get disability benefits for tinnitus or hearing loss, and this number could increase in the future based on the use of these earplugs.
Finding a 3M Defective Earplugs Attorney
If you were issued the Dual Ended Combat Arms Earplugs and suffered significant hearing loss, consider speaking with a 3M defective earplugs lawyer today to learn more about your rights. You could be entitled to compensation, but pursuing a claim may be difficult on your own.
Since hearing loss can have a long-term impact on your life, seeking compensation for your losses can be a positive step forward. A defective products attorney could evaluate a potential claim and advocate on your behalf. Call Disparti Law Group today to schedule a consultation and discuss your legal options.