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The purpose of the 3M Company combat earplugs’ two sides is to, in theory, provide hearing protection at two levels, giving soldiers more options and flexibility for adjusting noise reduction based on the levels and concentration of sound they experience. 3M marketed this feature as “selective attenuation.”
However, several issues in this design concept led to hearing loss for thousands of veterans. If you were affected by this defective product, a 3M defective earplug lawsuit lawyer from our law firm can help you get compensation and justice.
Two Options for Noise Reduction
The 3M combat earplugs’ dual-ended design theoretically presents two different hearing protection devices. Here’s what each part was intended to do and how it was supposed to work:
Green End of the Earplug
The dark green end of the earplug serves as a closed-position earplug, preventing the flow of all sound through the ear canal. A troop would insert the green end of the earplug when they face high, constant noise levels, for example, when working around aircraft, machinery, watercraft, and armored vehicles.
Yellow End of the Earplug
The yellow end of the earplug was intended to serve as the open-position device, dampening the level of loud noises while still enabling the troop to hear important spoken commands approaching vehicles or enemies. A troop would insert the yellow end of the earplug when they encounter intermittent, unexpected loud sounds, like explosions. With this design, the troop would protect their hearing while still being able to receive critical spoken communications to do their job and stay safe.
If you or a family member suffered hearing loss or developed tinnitus from 3M combat dual-ended earplugs, our 3M defective earplug lawsuit lawyer can help determine if you have a valid case.
Both Ends Failed in their Intended Design
Although the conceptual design for the dual-ended earplug would have served the troops well, each end failed in its intended purpose. The earplug stem was too short, so troops could not correctly insert either end into their ear canals. A large flange on the unused end would not allow the in-use side to penetrate a significant distance into the ear.
The earplug would unplug itself, unbeknownst to the wearer. In testing, the flange was rolled back to circumvent the blocking problem, but this workaround was not communicated to troops as a requirement for the earplug to work effectively. The fitting problem reduced the effectiveness of both sides.
The yellow end was not effective in dampening noises and, in fact, actually amplified the sounds. This amplification made it difficult for troops to hear commands and protect themselves. Testing this capability did not follow the required standards and generated more favorable results than what the earplug delivered.
The noise of combat proved particularly damaging to troops who thought their ears were protected.
2023 3M Defective Earplug Lawsuit Update
In 2018, the U.S. government filed a lawsuit against 3M, facilitated by a whistleblower action provided for under the False Claims Act, from a 3M competitor. 3M agreed to a settlement of $9.1 million to be paid to the government. The whistleblower received $1,911,000 for exposing the fraud.
But in 2023, there is still ongoing Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) with veterans demanding the compensation they qualify for. But according to ConsumerNotice, 3M tried to use the U.S. Bankruptcy system by setting aside $1 billion to pay for settlements after they put Aearo into bankruptcy, one of their companies that was a partner in manufacturing the earplugs. But a federal judge blocked it.
Now it is veterans’ turn to collect compensation from 3M for the hearing loss, tinnitus, and other damages suffered due to the company’s defective hearing protection devices.
Valuable Evidence Our 3M Defective Earplug Lawyer Will Use
When pursuing a 3M defective earplug lawsuit, our experienced legal team understands the importance of gathering compelling evidence to build a strong case on your behalf. We leverage various sources of evidence to support your claims and maximize your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries. Some valuable evidence our 3M defective earplug lawyer will utilize includes:
- Military service records
- Medical records and expert opinions
- Product testing and design documentation
- 3M internal communications and memos
- Statements from fellow service members
- Prior legal actions and settlements against 3M
By analyzing these crucial pieces of evidence, our dedicated team can establish a clear link between your use of the defective earplugs, the resulting injuries, and the negligence of 3M.
You May be Eligible to Receive Compensation
You can join other veterans in receiving compensation from 3M if you served in the military between 2003 and 2015 if you meet specific criteria. You must have:
- Used the 3M dual-ended Combat Arms version 2 earplugs in your service; AND
- Suffered injuries from using the earplugs (e.g., hearing loss or tinnitus).
Depending on the level of tinnitus or hearing impairment you have suffered as a result of using the 3M Combat earplugs, you may receive compensation for the following types of damages:
- Costs for medical treatment
- Prescription medicines
- Hearing aids
- Lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Diminished future potential earnings
- Diminished enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Remember that you can only figure out which specific damages you qualify for by getting in touch with one of our 3M defective earplug lawsuit attorneys.
Our Team Can Represent You in Your 3M Lawsuit
Zanes Law would be honored to champion your right to compensation from 3M. Our 3M defective earplug lawsuit attorneys consider the company’s fraudulent actions, all committed with complete disregard for the safety and well-being of the service men and women fighting to protect our country, to be the most egregious offense.
Let us take on your case and give you a free case consultation today.