Contact our 3M Combat Arms Earplug Litigation Lawyers About Your Tinnitus or Hearing Loss
If you served in the military between 2003 and 2015 and were issued dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs V2 and are experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus you may qualify to file suit against the manufacturer, 3M.
Has the 3M Combat Arms Earplug Product Liability Litigation Already Settled?
No, suits against 3M are still being filed. In 2018, after a thorough investigation found 3M knowingly sold a defective product to our Service Members for years, 3M settled with the Department of Justice for $9.1 million. That suit was filed by the USDOJ under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) after a whistleblower complaint surfaced.
In 2019 the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) centralized and transferred the federal cases into In re 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 19-md-2885, in the United States District Court, Northern District of Florida. This spring, three trials in the Pensacola court resolved in favor of compensating Service Members with hearing loss and/or tinnitus. These were bellwether trials, sample trials that give a sense of what to expect from the future proceedings. One trial was selected by 3M, one by plaintiffs’ attorneys, and one by Judge M. Casey Rodgers. More trials are pending this fall.
Over 200,000 Service Members and veterans are currently suing 3M. There are more plaintiffs suing over their hearing loss or tinnitus from defective 3M earplugs than are suing over weed killer, baby powder and blood thinners, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.
3M Combat Arms Earplug Defect
The Justice Department’s investigation found the Combat Arms Earplugs V2 were too short for proper insertion into the ear canal. According to the whistleblower, 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, Inc., knew about this defect and did not disclose it to the military. 3M discontinued the sale of the Combat Arms Earplugs V2 in 2015. Some Service Members who used these earplugs experienced an imperceptible loosening. This allowed damaging vibrations to reach the cochlea and fine bones in the inner ear causing hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
How Do Earplugs Protect My Hearing?
Hearing depends on a series of complex steps that perceive and change sound waves (vibrations) in the air into electrical signals. Our auditory nerve then carries these signals to the brain.
Hearing protection blocks sound vibrations so they are unable to travel down the canal to the eardrum, protecting the delicate cochlea and fine bones behind it. Earplugs are inserted into the ear forming tight compression, expanding and preventing harmful vibrations.
Hearing protection is recommended by OSHA for levels above eighty-five decibels (dB) which is considered the highest safe exposure level for the duration of an eight-hour shift. The Department of Defense (DoD) recommends a Hearing Conservation Program for Service Members with this level of exposure for a single day or more per year. DB peaks, ultrasonic exposures, and impulse noise sound pressure levels require identification and noise-rated protection. According to the WHO, noise induced hearing loss, while preventable, is not reversible.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be pronounced either “tih-NITE-is” or “TIN-ih-tis” and is a high pitched ringing with no external cause. It can also sound like roaring or buzzing, hissing or whistling. The sound is not audible to others. It can be persistent or it can come and go. It can occur in one ear or both. Tinnitus can interfere with processing external sounds and can be a distraction when falling asleep or when trying to concentrate. Common causes are excessive or cumulative noise exposure.
How Do I File for Compensation?
Well-informed Pittsburgh defective product attorneys are prepared to help you through this multidistrict litigation. It is important to note, this is not a class-action; cases are filed individually, evaluated individually, and settled individually. Contact us today for a free legal consultation about your hearing loss or tinnitus related to defective 3M earplugs.
Defective Product Lawyers in Pittsburgh – Free Case Review!
Product liability laws are designed to protect users’ rights to pursue compensation if they are injured as the result of a defective product. If you believe you have a hearing loss or tinnitus claim against 3M for their defective Combat Arms Earplugs, it is important to consult with an attorney who can help you determine whether you qualify. Call us at 412.281.3000 or toll-free at 1-888-MEDMAL1 to speak with a qualified and informed defective product lawyer in Pittsburgh who will review your case. Chat or email us for a free case review.