Explosions, gunfire, and other loud noises are part of serving in the military. But many of our nation’s veterans unnecessarily suffered hearing loss because of earplugs which failed to protect them. 3M, a military contractor, and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, manufactured and sold Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2). Design flaws with these earplugs made them defective, and harmed countless veterans. Many mass tort law firms are actively investigating these cases. If you served in the military and were injured because of defective earplugs, an attorney at Persist Communications may be able to help.
The CAEv2 earplugs became standard issue for active duty military members deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were marketed as having a special dual-purpose technology. They blocked out all sounds when they were worn on one end. When they were worn on the other end, high-decibel noises were blocked out but verbal commands could still be heard.
But there was a problem with the CAEv2 earplugs: they didn’t correctly fit in the ear canal. This was a significant design flaw that allowed the earplugs to become loose when worn. The defect allowed high-decibel sounds to enter the ear canal, causing hearing damage.
3M profited immensely from the sale of its earplugs. Yet the company was allegedly aware of the defect with CAEv2 as early as 2000. Unfortunately, 3M sold the earplugs to the military anyway. Some claims have even alleged that 3M manipulated test results to falsely misrepresent the safety of its earplugs. The company agreed in 2018 to a $9.1 million settlement with the Department of Defense. Veterans who used these earplugs from 2003 to 2015 may be entitled to compensation. If you have been injured, keep records of your health conditions and contact an experienced law firm.
Hearing loss and related problems can be indicated by numerous symptoms, including the following:
- Buzzing sound in the ears
- Ringing sound in the ears
- Difficulty hearing someone on the phone
- Trouble understanding speech
- Needing a hearing aid
- Loss of balance
Tinnitus and other hearing loss problems were the third most common service-related disability, according to a 2003 Veterans Affairs report. These auditory system injuries can have significant health consequences for veterans. Such problems may include anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional conditions. They also make it more difficult to find gainful employment and adjust to civilian life after the military.
Plaintiffs have alleged that 3M’s greed and negligence caused many veterans and active duty military members to suffer unnecessary injury. Servicemen and women who have been affected could be entitled to significant financial compensation for medical costs. Many veterans often require future treatment or rehabilitation for their injuries. A mass tort lawsuit can also help recover for these expenses. Pain and suffering and loss of consortium are also potentially recoverable damages. Members of the armed forces who have experienced losses such as time away from work should also seek legal counsel. Another possible claim is decreased earning capacity because of hearing loss.
You should ask your doctor if you have any signs of hearing loss. Your health care professional can diagnose your condition and provide a recommended course of treatment. A medical diagnosis of hearing loss or tinnitus will be required if you seek compensation for your injuries. Also, you should obtain copies of your medical records and document any treatment you receive. Attorneys familiar with these cases also advise that you keep records of costs associated with your treatment, including travel expenses.
Veterans Injured by Defective Earplugs Have Legal Options
Plaintiffs have alleged damages against 3M and Aearo Technologies for knowingly selling defective earplugs to the Department of Defense. If you or a loved one served and were injured by CAEv2 earplugs, call an experienced law firm today.