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Combat Earplugs Complications

These 3M Combat Earplugs Did Not Block Sound — Military Personnel Experiencing Hearing Loss

If you had served in the military between 2003 and 2015, you might have used 3M Combat Earplugs. Many service member are suffering hearing loss as a result of wearing these earplugs. The defective earplugs may have caused significant hearing loss in military veterans, including combat veterans who did tours in Afghanistan or Iraq; reserve members who were stateside but routinely fired weapons for training; as well as Navy and Air Force personnel. Instead of blocking sound as intended, 3M used a design that allowed the earplugs to loosen in the wearer’s ear. The yellow fins on the earplug interfered with forming a tight seal in the wearer’s ear canal, unless folded back. Current and former military service members who served any time from 2003 to 2015 may be entitled to compensation from 3M for their hearing loss or tinnitus.

3M has since settled with the federal government in a $9.1 million lawsuit. Allegedly, 3M knew that the earplugs were too short and did not seal properly, yet still supplied the military with the earplugs.  3M chose to maintain that their earplugs were safe to use.  The lawsuit mentioned that the problem was know about as early as 2000. Over 900,000 service members received disability benefits for hearing impairment.  1.3 million received compensation for tinnitus. In alot of cases, the issues caused permanent damage.

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