3M Defective Earplug Lawsuit Investigation

01.22.2019

We are investigating a 3M defective combat earplug lawsuit after whistleblower allegations were revealed stating that 3M, a defense contractor, sold defective Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the military from 2003 to 2015. The now-discontinued dual-ended 3M CAEv2 combat earplugs were reportedly standard-issue for military servicemembers from 2003 to 2015. The defective earplugs may have caused significant hearing loss in military veterans, including combat veterans who did tours in Afghanistan or Iraq; reserve members who were stateside but routinely fired weapons for training; as well as Navy and Air Force personnel. Current and former military servicemembers who served any time from 2003 to 2015 may be entitled to compensation from 3M for their hearing loss or tinnitus. 

DOJ Resolves Defective Ear Plugs Lawsuit against 3M

In a whistleblower lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. government, a qui tam relator brought forth allegations that 3M and its predecessor corporation, Aero Technologies, knew about the design defect since 2000, when the combat earplugs failed to show any noise-reduction benefit. Yet, the 3M whistleblower lawsuit alleges, 3M continued selling the CAEv2 earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency, which supplies equipment to U.S. troops, navy, and airforce personnel. In its answer to the 3M whistleblower complaint, 3M admitted that Aero had tested the earplugs in 2000 and that the test came back with a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 0.

Frequently Asked Questions about 3M Combat Earplugs Lawsuit


What were the 3M combat earplugs’ intended purpose?
3M won an exclusive contract to sell combat earplugs to the U.S. military, and sold millions of earplugs to the armed forces from 2003-2015. The dual-ended earplugs had a yellow and black end and were intended to be versatile to provide hearing protection while enabling service members to communicate when necessary. One side of the earplugs was intended to block all sound, including voices, like traditional, non-combat earplugs. The other side of the combat earplugs was supposed to block loud impulse sounds on the battlefield, while still allowing spoken words and commands through.

What was the defect in the 3M combat earplugs?
Instead of blocking sound as intended, 3M used a design that allowed the earplugs to loosen in the wearer’s ear. The yellow fins on the earplug interfered with forming a tight seal in the wearer’s ear canal, unless folded back, according to a whistleblower. Testing by the company that invented the earplugs showed that the earplugs had a noise reduction rating (NRR) of zero, as 3M admitted in a False Claims Act lawsuit. Because of this defect, service members may have suffered hearing loss and tinnitus from combat noise, firing weapons in training, or aircraft noise.

Can veterans get compensation from a 3M combat earplugs lawsuit beyond VA disability?
Through our investigation, we have learned that many affected military members receive partial disability and hearing aids from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but they may still be entitled to compensation from 3M for injuries they suffered, including tinnitus, hearing loss, or other health issues caused by the Combat Arms earplugs.

Important Note: We are pursuing lawsuits against 3M ONLY, not the U.S. Government or armed services. If you qualify, you can join with other active military and veterans in asserting your legal rights against 3M.

How can I contact your defective earplug attorneys about a claim?
Our 3M earplug team has a dedicated number to field calls from veterans and active servicemembers who have potential claims against 3M for defective combat earplugs. The number is 1.888.756.6490You can also visit the 3M defective combat earplug lawsuit page for more information.

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