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“Combat Arms” Military Earplug Lawsuits

Current soldiers and military combat veterans may be entitled to financial compensation due to their use of defective earplugs sold by multinational conglomerate company 3M, which may have known the earplugs were defective and still continued to sell them to the United States military between 2003 and 2015. If you or a loved one used these “Combat Arms” earplugs by 3M while enlisted in the military, contact the Cambridge law firm of Altman & Altman LLP today for a free consultation.

Earplugs Were Marketed as Safe, but Data Shows They Were not

Combat Arms earplugs were developed by Aearo Technologies, which was acquired by 3M in 2008. The earplugs were designed with the supposed ability to be worn two ways – one way that would block out all potentially damaging noises of the battlefield, and another way that would still block the damaging soundwaves while allowing soldiers to hear “softer” noises, like whispered commands from squad mates and commanders.

However, a complaint brought against the company has accused 3M and Aearo of knowingly covering up defects in the earplugs that rendered them essentially useless, and has caused potentially thousands of United States military members to suffer permanent hearing damage as a result of the design flaw.

The complaint alleges that 3M hired Aearo employees who originally worked on the development of the earplugs, and that those employees were aware of the defect as early as the year 2000. It was only three years later that 3M won a bid to become the exclusive supplier of earplugs to the military, and after the company acquired Aearo and its technologies, these earplugs continued to be shipped to brave men and women overseas at a rate of 15,000 packages annually – with 50 pairs per package – according to Military Times.

The complaint details the crucial design flaw – which results in the earplug not forming a proper seal to protect the eardrum, allowing damaging soundwaves to enter the ear and potentially cause serious medical issues like tinnitus and loss of hearing, as well as other issues like a loss of balance.

We Hold Negligent Companies Accountable

The injuries caused by these defective earplugs can be long-lasting or even permanent, and can cause debilitating issues for the remainder of a soldier’s life. It is unfathomable that a company could knowingly supply a defective product to members of our armed services, but if the details in the complaint are accurate, that is exactly what has happened in this case.

The complaint further alleges that cases of hearing loss and tinnitus for combat veterans spiked significantly in the time span that Combat Arms earplugs were being utilized as the sole earplug for the military. And although these earplugs were discontinued in 2015, the military commonly uses surplus supplies from prior years – so it is very possible soldiers still use these defective earplugs to this day.

We believe that no company should be able to get away with knowingly providing a defective product that results in injuries for the people who rely on those products. 3M has already paid out a more than $9 million settlement related to these earplugs, but that doesn’t stop victims from filing their own civil suits against 3M for continuing to sell these dangerous earplugs to the military for more than a decade while allegedly knowing their fatal flaw.

At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 50 years of experience advocating on behalf of people who are injured due to the negligence or gross misconduct of companies who sell defective products that result in injuries. We may be able to help you if you have suffered hearing loss while serving in the military, so give us a call today.

Contact us online or call for a free consultation to go over the details of your case today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7 to assist you.

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