3M has no evidence of telling the military about their earplugs’ defects, according to internal documents being used in a mass tort lawsuit against the company. The documents also indicate that 3M’s own employees didn’t think soldiers needed to know how to properly use the earplugs.
The exact communications between earplug-maker 3M and their main customer, the US military, have been of major debate for several years. But ever since soldiers started losing their hearing, 3M has been under investigation for selling faulty earplugs to the troops. More than 140,000 cases have been filed as of April, 2020.
A closer look at some of the memos revealed that the earplug-maker specifically knew that the earplugs had problems requiring new instructions, despite 3M’s persistent claims of the opposite. 3M says that they designed the earplugs in accordance with the military’s requests which they think should nullify the claims against them.
3M’s combat earplugs were the second generation of the product and intended to be an upgrade from the previous version. The new version was essentially reversible, with one side blocking loud noises and the other allowing for a more mild mute. The side that aimed to block loud noises reportedly failed, resulting in thousands of soldiers suffering tinnitus and hearing loss.
The company has already had to pay for the effects of their product. In 2018, a $9.1 million settlement for a whistleblower lawsuit seemed to close the combat earplugs case. However, the thousands of lawsuits since then have proven that there are many more injuries to resolve.
If you or someone you know has developed a hearing problem after using these earplugs, call TorHoerman Law to see if you’re eligible for compensation.