3M Earplug Facts
Aearo Technologies, Inc. sold its Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency without disclosing defects that decreased the intended hearing protection. 3M purchased Aearo in 2008 and continued manufacturing and selling the earplugs. In 2016, the US Dept. of Justice filed a False Claims Act case against 3M alleging that 3M was aware that the 3M earplugs were too short to be fully inserted into the ear, failed to provide adequate noise protection, that 3M was aware the earplugs were defective and that the test results were manipulated to make it appear that the earplugs complied with regulations. As a result, in July 2018 3M agreed to pay to the US government $9.1 million to resolve the allegations. However, 3M has not admitted fault or liability.
3M supplied more than 750,000 pairs of ear plugs per year and they were sold by 3M to the military until 2015 when 3M discontinued the earplugs. The multi-colored ear plugs could be worn in two positions. In one position, the earplugs were supposed to minimize all loud noises. Turned the other way, the earplugs minimized the loud noises while permitting conversations. The earplugs failed to maintain a tight seal and allowed dangerously loud sounds to penetrate causing hearing loss and tinnitus to military members between 2003 – 2015. According to some studies, as many as 1,500,000 military personnel are affected.
This claim is not against the US government or the armed services and does not affect disability benefits. The claim is against 3M. If you or a family member were on active duty between 2003 and 2015 and suffered hearing loss or tinnitus, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact CHASENBOSCOLO by calling (301) 220-0050 to go over your case with a knowledgeable injury attorney.