A whistleblower lawsuit against the 3M corporation was filed in 2016 by the Unites States Government alleging 3M knew about and still sold defective earplugs to the U.S. Armed Forces (3M Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2). In a startling settlement in July 2018, the 3M corporation agreed to pay $9.1 million in a False Claims Act lawsuit to settle allegations that it knowingly supplied the United States military with defective earplugs.



3M Sold Defective Earplugs Putting Soldiers At Risk:

The alleged defective design by 3M and Aearo Technologies caused the dual-ended military earplugs to move outside the ear canal and may have caused hearing damage due to load noises from close range firearms. The duel ended plugs were to provide both non-liner attenuation and provide selective hearing attenuation.


Olive Side – Blocked or Closed Side – was designed to work as standard earplugs.


Yellow Side – locked or Open Side – was designed to block loud battlefield noises such as gunfire, and explosions, while still allowing quieter sounds like commands from other service members to be heard.


The government alleges that Aearo submitted the earplugs in response to a military Request for Proposal (RFP) in 2003 but that Aearo was aware of the defects as early as February 2000. According to the lawsuit the defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were too short not allowing for proper insertion into the user’s ear canal which caused loosening or reduced effectiveness for some users.



Military users and combat veterans reported multiple side effects, including:

  • Loss of Hearing
  • Hearing Damage
  • Deafness
  • Ringing or Tinnitus in the ear

Were you issued 3M Combat Arms earplugs?

Our partners law firms are looking into claims by military members of hearing loss and tinnitus which may have been caused by 3M Combat Arms earplugs. If you served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015 and used 3M Combat Arms Earplugs you may be able to file a claim against 3M which could help you recover compensation for:


  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Disability 
  • Other damages



Take action today, free case evaluation.


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