3M Defective Earplug Lawsuit
- Were you in the military between 2003-2015?
- During that time, were you deployed to a combat zone?
- Have you been diagnosed with hearing loss in one or both ears?
The Herrera Law Firm is currently reviewing cases on behalf of individuals who may have lost their hearing as a result of a defective earplug that was sold to the U.S. military.
Manufacturers knowingly sold defective earplugs to the military for over a decade
Between 2003-2015, service members in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan were equipped with Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2). The U.S. military purchased about 2.2 million of these earplugs, first from Aearo Technologies and, after 2008, from the Minnesota-based conglomerate 3M.
A 2016 whistleblower lawsuit filed under the False Claim Act revealed that Aearo and 3M had defrauded the military and put service members at risk by selling earplugs that they knew were defective. The companies expressly stated that the earplugs were compliant with military standards, but their records tell an entirely different story.
For some soldiers, these earplugs did not provide hearing protection
According to the 2016 complaint, Aearo and 3M knew that the earplugs were too short to maintain a proper fit when inserted into the ear canal. That meant that for some users, the earplug would loosen, which would allow sound to bypass the ear protection and damage the wearer’s hearing.
The company’s own records reveal that the earplugs were found to loosen even in a controlled laboratory environment. Obviously, the risk of failure would surely be much higher for soldiers who are moving around in a combat zone.
Despite those risks, Aearo, and later 3M, went ahead and sold this dangerous product that put service members at risk of permanent hearing loss. The whistleblower complaint alleges that Aearo knew about this dangerous defect as early as 2000, three years before the product was sold to the military, but did not address it.
Millions of service members may have been harmed by this product
Over 1.5 million U.S. service members were deployed to war zones between 2003-2015. As a result, a vast member of people may have been impacted by this defective product. Soldiers in combat zones are frequently exposed to loud sounds, such as gunshots and explosions, and functional hearing protection is vital. Aearo and 3M put service members’ hearing at risk in the name of profit.
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. 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.