If you are a veteran who wore 3M Combat Arms earplugs from 2003 to 2015, then you may be entitled to receive compensation for this defective product. According to lawsuits filed by hundreds of military vets, the earplugs were not manufactured properly to prevent harmful sounds from entering their ears. As a result, veterans are now suffering from tinnitus, hearing loss, and balance issues. 3M failed to disclose any defects associated with the dual-sided earplugs. In an attempt to overcome the accusation against the company, 3M offered to settle a lawsuit filed by the US government for $9.1 million in July 2018. This payout did not prove 3M’s guilt or responsibility, but rather served as a remedy for the allegation against the company for making false claims about the use of the product. Injured veterans are now holding the Saint Paul, MN-based 3M directly responsible for negligence.
The defective product claim stems from the size of the earplugs themselves, in which they are arguably too short to firmly plug the ears of the wearer to provide the best sound resistance. During use, the earplugs would become moveable in the ear, allowing loud noises to slip past. Following a 3M whistleblower grievance, it became apparent that 3M was aware of the product defect; but continued to sell the earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency. Despite test results, proving that the earplugs were not acceptable by military standards, 3M sold 750,000 pairs of earplugs annually. This contract between 3M and the US government lasted from 2006 to 2015. In 2015, the Combat Arms earplugs were discontinued.
What remains from the distribution of this product is the permanent hearing impairment of the military veterans who wore them. During battle, the only things a soldier can rely on are himself, his fellow soldiers, and his equipment. If one of those components fails, the everlasting effects can be damaging.