Defective 3M Combat Earplugs – Our Military At Risk

Lacy Katzen LLP is currently reviewing cases on behalf of members of the U.S. military who have suffered from hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as a result of using 3M™ Combat Arms earplugs.

In July of 2018, 3M agreed to pay 9.1 million dollars to settle a claim brought by the U.S. Department of Justice for the allegedly defective combat earplugs that 3M sold to the U.S. military for over a decade. Although 3M has made no admission of liability as part of the settlement, the allegations were that 3M knew the earplugs to be defective even before they won the bid to be the exclusive supplier of selective attenuation earplugs to the U.S. military.  The earplugs are alleged to have caused American soldiers to suffer significant hearing loss.

The suit by the Department of Justice sought to recover millions of dollars paid by the U. S. military for repeated purchases of the earplugs between 2003 and 2015. However, 3M has not yet made any offer to compensate the U.S. service members who are alleged to have sustained hearing damage from use of the earplugs.

3M’s dual-ended “Combat Arms” brand earplugs are two-toned earplugs originally created by Aearo Technologies – a company acquired by 3M in 2008. One end of the earplug is olive colored and is designed to block all loud battlefield noises. The other end is yellow and was supposed to block loud sounds while also allowing the wearer to hear verbal communications in close proximity. The lawsuit alleges that the original makers of the dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs knew as early as 2000 that the earplugs had design defects which caused them to loosen in wearers’ ears and not provide the tight seal needed for proper noise blockage.  This created a potential for users to sustain hearing damage without them knowing. Currently 3M is facing approximately 50 lawsuits from plaintiffs around the country. The number of plaintiffs is expected to grow exponentially.

In 1950 Lacy Katzen LLP was founded by two World War II veterans; Herb Lacy and Leon Katzen.   Built upon a foundation of hard work, service and love of country, Lacy Katzen LLP stands behind the men and women of America’s military.   It saddens us to hear allegations that our military personnel have been harmed by defective combat earplugs by a manufacturer who allegedly knew of the problems. If you or a loved one believe that you have been affected by the 3M earplugs contact attorney Jacqueline Thomas for assistance.