3M Earplugs Lawsuit

Instead of defending hearing, these defective earplugs caused widespread hearing damage

Quick Facts

  • Biggest Award: $9.1 Million to settle False Claims case with US Government
  • Number of Cases: More than 139,693 claimants as of March 2020
  • Earplug Introduction Date: 2003
  • Intended Use: Hearing protection against loud and high-pitched noises from combat arms
  • Side-Effects: Hearing Loss & Tinnitus

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What You Need to Know

What Is The 3M Case All About: 3M dual-sided combat arms earplugs (CAEv2) were distributed to US armed servicemen and servicewomen. However, these combat earplugs have a serious defect proven to cause hearing injuries. People who wore them are entitled to justice and compensation for their injuries.

Who Was Impacted By 3M: Hearing damage victims that served in the US armed forces and wore these dual-sided 3M earplugs are entitled to fight back against 3M for injuries suffered while using this defective product. 

When Were These Earplugs Distributed: Injured servicemembers and veterans who served between the years 2003-2015 and suffer from resulting hearing damage after wearing 3M combat earplugs are potentially eligible for compensation.

Why These Earplugs Were Defective: These combat earplugs were designed to be dual-sided, allowing servicemembers to quickly change sides depending on noise conditions. However, 3M’s combat earplugs are proven to be a defective product, entitling affected servicemembers and veterans to take action against the company and exercise their rights.

How To Fight Back Against 3M: To see if you or a loved one qualify to fight against the injustice of hearing loss and damage due to 3M’s defective earplugs, start by taking a free evaluation to check eligibility for compensation.

About the 3M Combat Earplugs Lawsuit

3M combat earplugs were designed to prevent hearing damage amongst US Armed Forces members who were regularly subjected to noisy conditions in both training and combat conditions. However, the product itself had fitting problems. Because the earplugs were too short to fill the ear canal properly, there wasn’t a proper seal. To work effectively, the earplugs need a 100% seal to block out the noise.

Without a proper seal, or broken seal, users were exposed to hearing damage and loud noises that the earplugs were designed to prevent. The result was damage to the inner ear and sensitive hairs of affected service members. Moreover, due to their defect, many users didn’t even realize they weren’t being properly protected at the time. These 3M earplugs not only failed to prevent hearing damage, but are responsible for hearing loss and painful tinnitus many service members and veterans suffer from.

As a consequence, thousands of US troops and veterans are suing a government contractor, 3M, for supplying them with faulty defective earplugs during military tours of places like Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2015. Many veterans suffer hearing problems after exposure to dangerous levels of noise, which is common in combat missions. However, 3M is accused of providing the military with defective Combat Arms earplugs and for covering up knowledge of the faulty equipment that was supposed to protect troops’ ears. In light of that, many members and former members of the US Armed Forces are bringing personal injury claims against 3M after suffering ear problems.

US Soldier

How Have Affected People Fought Back?

A whistleblower discovered that the company had intentionally hidden the defects, helping the US government to strike back at 3M for its misleading claims. 3M eventually settled with the US Government, and now many affected servicemembers and veterans are fighting the company for justice and compensation related to their injuries sustained while wearing these earplugs.

So many cases have been filed against 3M simultaneously that many have been combined to produce a settlement or judgment that will benefit over 100,000 current and former service members. Moreover, many impacted individuals are currently building and pursuing legal action against 3M for both financial and non-financial damages that resulted from wearing these defective earplugs.

How Many People Have Been Affected?

There are potentially millions of US armed forces service members and veterans that were negatively impacted by these defective combat earplugs. According to statistics compiled by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, hearing loss and tinnitus are amongst the most common injuries suffered by veterans. Per the statistics, more than 1.7 million veterans receive compensation for tinnitus while another 1.1 million veterans receive compensation for hearing loss.

All members of each branch of the military who served between 2003-2015 who used these earplugs were potentially exposed to damage, amounting to hundreds of thousands of potential injuries if not more. Right now, so many cases have been filed against 3M for hearing loss and damage, that Federal Courts have consolidated the 139,693 separate cases against the company for their wrongdoing. These cases are currently pending in a Federal Court in the Northern District of Florida.

Is This a Hearing Loss Lawsuit?

At the heart of the 3M faulty earplug lawsuit is the charge that the company knew its products, called 3M Combat Arms Hear-Through Earplugs, were not the right fit for troops’ ears, and that the earplugs could loosen in a way not known to the wearer that would render them ineffective. 3M settled a lawsuit with the Federal Government a couple of years ago, but many individual military personnel are contemplating joining the lawsuit against 3M if they believe they have suffered hearing loss or tinnitus after using the company’s earplugs while on duty.

Statistics Regarding Veteran Hearing Loss

Ear damage is one of the most common injuries suffered by US military veterans. In fact, the Hearing Health Foundation cites tinnitus, ringing in the ear, and hearing loss as the two most common health complaints among veterans.

Furthermore, the Military Health Systems has stated that hearing issues are the main disability in the veteran community Moreover, studies have linked hearing problems with other issues like depression and anxiety.

3m Earplug Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

To date, the only settlement amount from 3M has been the $9.1 million compensation paid to the Federal Government in July 2018. This was after a whistleblower within 3M alerted the Federal Government to the defective nature of the earplugs. However, more US troops and veterans are pursuing legal action against 3M, and the case is expected to go to trial in 2021. Because the case has been combined into a mass tort case, plaintiffs can expect settlements to be based on individual circumstances rather than a fixed sum for all combat troops injured by 3M defective earplugs.

The biggest case against 3M is now pending in a Federal Court in Florida and includes more than 139,653 individual cases against the company that have been combined. Although the outcome of this action is still unclear, all the impacted individuals are fighting the company for compensation for their injuries sustained while using the defective product.

3M Earplug Lawsuit Payout

It is almost impossible to estimate how much the 3M lawsuit for defective military earplugs will payout. This is due to the fact it is being tried as a mass tort lawsuit, meaning every plaintiff is judged on their personal circumstances. The level of military veteran hearing loss can vary, and it can impact their lives in different ways. However, due to the sheer number of claimants against 3M, the company can expect a massive bill for damages if the company loses in court.

3M Military Earplugs Lawsuit News Update

The judge overseeing the case in Florida unsealed a mass of documents in April 2020. This gave us an insight into the charges against 3M, and also shed light on the testing procedures for 3M military-grade earplugs. We should add that the documents show that 3M vigorously denies any wrongdoing. To date, over 140,000 military personnel have joined the lawsuit against 3M.

How Our Process Works

If you or a loved one was a member of the US armed forces between 2003-2015, used 3M combat earplugs during that time period and are suffering from hearing damage or injury resulting from use of combat earplugs please follow these steps

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Free Survey

Take our free survey to determine eligibility and if we are able to help with your case

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Consult With Us

If we are able to help our team will reach out to you and ask for more detailed information and walk you through what the process is and all that is involved

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Take Action

If you choose to take legal action a contingency agreement to join the lawsuit will be sent to you to review and sign. You will then begin working with a lawyer who will be dedicated to your case and bringing you justice.

There are no fees for starting the process and signing the contingency agreement. Fees will only be assessed in the event of a successful outcome from the lawsuit. 

Need Help?

3M Earplugs Case FAQs

Select Justice is an advocacy group made up of journalists, investigators and technology professionals committed to helping injured individuals seek justice. We believe that everyone is entitled to know their legal rights and how to use them.
We use our expertise to help people injured by dangerous & defective products, medical malpractice, and employer negligence understand and exercise their rights by discussing their situations and referring them to qualified law firms within our network.

No, Select Justice is not a law firm and is not qualified to give any legal advice.  We advocate for those individuals who have been harmed or injured by assisting them with understanding the cause of their situation, identifying who may be responsible, and helping them take steps to pursue justice against the wrongdoers.

We simplify the legal process for you and give you easy access to qualified lawyers who will help bring you justice and compensation. With our vast network we ensure that you are matched with an expert legal team suited specifically for your unique case needs.
If you or a loved one was harmed by 3M earplugs, please fill out a short questionnaire that helps us understand if you are qualified to pursue compensation against the wrongdoers. After qualifying, a Select Justice team member will call to collect some more detailed information.  Following a short conversation, the team member will be able to point you in the direction of follow up actions. You may be asked to provide specific details or more information and documentation related to your injury. If qualified, you will be referred to a capable legal team that can help you pursue justice.

Select Justice is an absolutely free service that does not charge any money to advocate for injured individuals. During no part of the process with Select Justice will users be required to provide any monetary compensation or payment to the company.

If you choose to take legal action with our recommended lawyers a contingency agreement will be sent to you to review and sign and you will then begin working with a lawyer who will be dedicated to your case and bringing you justice. There are no fees for starting the process and signing the contingency agreement. Fees will only be assessed in the event of a successful outcome from the claim.
We take matters of personal privacy very seriously. When you share you personal and private information with our team of professionals, we take many special measures to protect your privacy. We are HIPAA-compliant to ensure any medical records you share with us are secure. Additionally, we follow other best practices in the areas of information security to assure your information is safe from prying eyes.

You can email us at info@selecjustice.com to get in touch with a team member. We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.