In the summer of 2018, 3M settled a False Claims Act case it had pending with the U.S. Department of Justice. The case involved 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) which were faulty and worn by all branches of the U.S. military both in the Iraq War and in Afghanistan.
The earplugs were worn by servicemen and women in the Army, Navy, and the Air Force from 2003 to 2015. And now thousands of veterans have complained of hearing loss and tinnitus since returning from duty. These earplugs may be the reason why.
What is wrong with the 3M earplugs?
The Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) are dual-ended with the intention of offering the wearer two levels of protection. One end fits into the ear canal, blocking the loud noises of gunshots, explosions, aircraft, and bombs. The other end sits outside of the ear canal, also blocking noise from entering the ear canal.
The problem with the earplugs is that the portion made to fit inside the ear canal was not long enough. After just a short amount of time of being in the ear, the earplug would loosen imperceptibly and the loud noises troops face every day would enter the ear. Being constantly subjected to these noises can result in hearing loss and tinnitus. These are the conditions currently affecting a large number of veterans. Now, those same veterans can claim compensation for their injuries.
Evidence suggests that the company was aware the earplugs were defective in 2000, three years before they assured the military that the devices would protect U.S. service members from hearing damage. The company did not recall the earplugs. They did not warn the military about the dangers.
Am I Entitled to Compensation?
Without the necessary protection of adequate noise reduction, thousands of U.S. servicemembers may have unknowingly suffered permanent hearing loss and auditory damage from the sound of gunfire and explosions, resulting in injury, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and medical bills.
If you or a loved one were an actively deployed servicemember between 2003 and 2015 and have been diagnosed with partial or total hearing loss or tinnitus caused during service in the U.S. military, please contact Montgomery & Ponder, LLC by completing the contact form on this page to discuss your potential legal options.