Dallas 3M Earplug Lawsuit Attorneys
U.S. military personnel and veterans give their lives for this country; the least that can be done is to honor that sacrifice. Unfortunately, the company 3M took U.S. military personnel for granted and failed to protect them. 3M was the primary supplier of dual-ended 3M combat earplugs for the U.S. military from 2003 to 2015. Unfortunately, their Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Versions 2, were defective. U.S. military personnel who served in active warzones between 2003 and 2015 have begun to experience hearing-related issues due to these faulty products, including hearing impairment, complete loss of hearing, and tinnitus.
If you were a service member in an active war zone between 2003 through 2015, were provided 3M combat earplugs, and have begun to suffer from hearing loss, then you may have the right to file a claim against the company that harmed you. Contact the Dallas 3M earplug lawsuit attorneys of The Benton Law Firm at (214) 777-7777 for a FREE consultation for a potential earplug-related injury.
3M Ordered to Pay $9.1 Million to U.S. Defense Logistics Agency
3M was able to win a U.S. military contract and receive payment by falsifying information. The company was supposed to certify that its dual-end combat earplugs were properly tested to meet military standards. However, internal company testing showed that the earplugs did not meet these requirements. The company illegally certified their effectiveness anyway.
3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technology, were fully aware of their defective earplugs for years and continued to supply the military without disclosing vital information that could have protected military personnel.
The issue of 3M’s defective combat earplugs first came to light in a False Claims Act lawsuit brought against the company by a competitor – Moldex-Metric, Inc. While developing their own combat earplugs, Moldex-Metric soon realized that 3M had not been able to create a quality product and had thus falsified data submitted to the U.S. military.
The U.S. Department of Justice would end up joining the lawsuit, and 3M would agree to pay $9.1 million back to the government.
Despite the $9.1 settlement agreement, the company has failed to accept responsibility for knowingly causing harm to U.S. service members.
What Is the Issue with 3M’s Combat Earplugs?
3M’s Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Versions 2, were designed to offer two levels of noise protection. Known as selective attenuation earplugs, the product could be worn in one manner to allow the wearer to hear speech and orders. When reversed, the user would be provided greater noise protection from high-volume sounds like explosions.
The issue with 3M’s dual-ended military earplugs was that the stems of the earplugs did not hold properly in the user’s ears. The stems were too short and, over time, could loosen within the ear without the user being aware. This essentially allowed for dangerous sound and noise levels to enter the wearer’s ear canals, where damage was done.
It is now estimated that these defective products could have affected over 1.5 million U.S. military veterans and personnel.
3M and the original manufacturer, Aearo Technology, knew of this issue as early as 2000 but failed to notify the military and made millions in sales.
How Soldiers Have Been Affected
Hearing loss damage can easily occur at 80 to 85 decibels without proper protection. Gunfire can reach around 150 decibels, while military-grade weapons such as grenades can reach up to 180 decibels.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that soldiers are 30 percent more likely to lose their hearing than civilians. Veterans who served overseas after 9/11 are four times more likely to suffer from hearing loss than nonveterans.
The Veterans Administration (VA) Benefits Report has also noted that tinnitus is the number one disability among veterans. Tinnitus is a constant ringing, buzzing, or low hissing sound in the ears.
According to the Hearing Health Foundation:
- Tinnitus and hearing loss are the number one and two disabilities among military veterans.
- In 2017, there were 1.79 million recipients receiving disability compensation for tinnitus and 1.16 million recipients for hearing loss.
The VA also reported 81,529 new claims of hearing loss and 159,800 cases of tinnitus in 2017.
Military personnel are especially vulnerable to hearing loss because of the environments they tend to work in. Severe hearing impairments tends to occur because of frequent exposure to high-intensity noise such as:
- Heavy equipment
- Jet engines
- Roadside bombs
- Battlefield experiences
Military veterans generally suffer from two forms of hearing loss or mixed hearing loss when they affect the victim. Generally, these two forms consist of:
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This hearing loss can occur by exposure to loud noises such as those experienced in military-related activities. Alongside high-volume noises, individuals can also suffer damages caused by aging, diseases, or exposure to certain chemicals.
- Conductive Hearing Loss occurs when there is damage or blockage in the outer and/or middle ear. The sound cannot properly make its way through the ear canal to the eardrum, thus affecting hearing.
If you believe you are suffering from hearing loss, there are a few signs and symptoms to be aware of:
- Hearing others as having muffled speech.
- Difficulty hearing specific words over background noise.
- Difficult hearing consonants.
- Sensitivity to sound.
It is in your best interest to seek out medical care to prevent further hearing loss and document your damages.
You do not have to face your suffering alone. Let the experienced and dedicated team of The Benton Law Firm help you to secure justice and compensation so that you can get the treatment and care you need.
How Hearing Loss Can Affect Veterans
Hearing loss is a catastrophic injury that can greatly affect veterans. Not only must they deal with a lowered quality of life, but hearing loss’s consequences can cause tremendous emotional and psychological pain. While the overall effects of hearing loss will vary from veteran to veteran, many face:
- A lowered quality of life can affect their relationship with their loved ones.
- An increased risk of accident or injury.
- Physical health problems include constant headaches, muscle tension from stress, and increased blood pressure.
- Hearing impairment can lead to fewer viable job opportunities, leading to financial problems.
- Hearing impairment can make it difficult to pursue training and higher education.
- Psychological and emotional damages are very real for those dealing with hearing loss. A 2015 study found that 72 percent of military veterans with tinnitus were also diagnosed with anxiety, 60 percent with depression, and 58 percent were dealing with both conditions. Anxiety and depression are also tied to post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Because hearing loss can affect communication skills, sufferers often deal with socialization issues. Veterans may become socially isolated, which can harm their overall well-being. This is especially troubling if the individual is dealing with other mental health issues.
The 3M defective earplug lawsuit lawyers of The Benton Law Firm have the skills, experience, and determination to bring this negligent company to justice.
The Benton Law Firm Is Here for You When You Need Us Most
If you have suffered hearing loss due to using 3M defective earplugs, the dependable product liability lawyers of The Benton Law Firm can help you seek justice and compensation for your damages.
Please note that to file a claim against 3M, you will need to meet the following criteria:
- You served in the U.S. military between 2003 through 2015.
- You were issued 3M combat earplugs during your time in the service.
- You have medically documented hearing loss or tinnitus.
- Hearing loss does NOT come from another syndrome, disease, or cause.
Some of the wars in which military personnel were provided 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, include:
- The Iraq War
- War in Afghanistan
- War in Somalia
- Libyan Crisis Intervention
- Syrian Crisis Intervention
- Yemeni Civil War
- War on Terror Operations
Our attorneys will provide personalized attention and care to secure positive results. We will work with a team of legal and medical experts to help you secure full compensation for the damages you have suffered, including:
- Economic Damages: This includes medical bills, lost income, loss of earning capacity, rehabilitation service costs, and other out-of-pocket costs associated with your hearing loss.
- Non-Economic Damages: This refers to any physical, mental, or emotional damages suffered by the victim, including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of quality of life, and other such damages.
Contact our dependable 3M defective earplug lawsuit attorneys today to learn more about your rights and legal options. Reach The Benton Law Firm at (214) 777-7777 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation.