A large number of people have filed a lawsuit against 3M Company after developing hearing loss or tinnitus while using defective 3M combat earplugs. Because this is a big product liability lawsuit, there are so many queries and confusion around the earplugs, their defect, people who are affected, etc. Here, we will talk about all these things so that you can understand what the lawsuit is all about and determine if you are entitled to compensation.
What Earplugs are covered by the 3M Lawsuit?
The earplugs involved in the lawsuit are 3M’s dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2). The earplugs were initially developed by Aearo Technologies. Following the acquisition of Aearo by 3M, the latter started manufacturing the earplugs in April 2008.
Also known as selective attenuation earplugs, they consist of two inverted cones, one yellow and one black, linked by a short stem. The dual-ended design is made to offer users two different levels of protection. This means they can be used as traditional earplugs or can be switched into an “open” position to weaken loud noises while still letting through quieter sounds.
The typical idea behind them was that the troops could use them to hear commands and orders while still being protected from loud explosions and gunshot sounds. But because they fail to properly reduce loud noises, a 3M earplug lawsuit was filed by hundreds of veterans.
How are the 3M earplugs faulty?
According to the court documents, the stem that links the ends of the earplugs is too small. This stops the earplugs from sitting well in the ear. Consequently, loud noises slip through and cause hearing damage. Besides, these earplugs can loosen in the wearer’s ear, permitting the extremely loud sounds to enter the ear canal by simply traveling around the outside of the earplug.
The US Justice Department claims that the manufacturers knew about this defect as early as 2000 and manipulated the test results to demonstrate that they met all safety standards. They went on for years to sell faulty earplugs without caring about the health and safety of the US troops. This precisely led to the 3M earplug lawsuit.
What are the Symptoms of Military-Related Hearing Damage?
Hearing loss is the most common disability caused. As per the Department of Defense, the most common symptoms caused by faulty 3M earplugs include:
- Difficulty in hearing someone three feet away
- Persistent ringing sound in the ears
- Difficulty in comprehending what other people are saying
- A feeling of fullness in the ears such as that after leaving a very loud area
The amount of hearing damage and symptoms can vary, depending on the noise levels the victim was exposed to. Also, not all may experience ringing sounds. For some, it may be persistent whistling, clicking, hissing, or roaring.
If you used 3M earplugs while in the military and now suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus, you must get in touch with a good attorney. He will help you file a lawsuit and claim suitable compensation.