3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit

If you were previously or are currently a U.S. military service member who used standard-issue 3M Combat Arms earplugs and you suffered a hearing-related injury such as hearing loss or tinnitus, you may qualify to participate in a 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawsuit.

Contact TorHoerman Law today to speak with a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawyer to determine whether you qualify for legal action now.

You can also use our chat-bot below to receive a free, instant online case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to qualify to participate in a 3M combat arms earplug lawsuit, you must meet the following requirements.

You must have:

  1. Served in the US military between 2003 and 2015
  2. Used military issued 3M Combat Arms earplugs during military service
  3. Been diagnosed with unilateral or bilateral hearing loss

Also, you must NOT have:

  • Waardenburg syndrome
  • Branchiootorenal syndrome
  • Stickler syndrome
  • Usher syndrome
  • Pendred syndrome
  • Alport syndrome
  • Otosclerosis
  • Meniere’s disease

In January 2021, a federal judge overseeing multidistrict litigation brought by service members sided with the two plaintiffs on which states’ laws should apply in their upcoming bellwether trials.

The servicemembers and vets were selected for an initial bellwether case pool in the multidistrict litigation, in which they say that 3M Co. supplied earplugs that were defective and didn’t protect against service-related tinnitus and hearing loss.

The average payout for 3M earplug lawsuit settlements differ from case to case and depend heavily on the specifics surrounding each servicemember’s injuries.

Based on 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawsuit settlements that have been disclosed so far, servicemembers who have suffered partial hearing loss have received settlements ranging from $50,000 to $300,000.

At this time, there is not enough public information available to determine the settlement range for more serious permanent hearing loss.

VA Disability Claims Assistance
Learn More

VA Disability Claims Assistance

Military Medical Malpractice
Learn More

Military Medical Malpractice

Military Burn Pit
Learn More

Military Burn Pit

Table of Contents

3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit Update

August 29th, 2022 Update

3M will not be allowed to file bankruptcy and avoid the 230,000 personal injury claims filed by veterans for its defective earplugs, a bankruptcy judge ruled

This is great news for those already involved in the 3M earplugs lawsuit and those considering legal action. 

3M attempted to use the same legal strategy Johnson&Johnson implemented in March 2022. J&J’s utilization of the “Texas Two-Step” bankruptcy strategy allowed them to halt lawsuits and force cancer victims into settlement talks.

3M attempted to do somewhat the same, and Judge Jeffrey J. Graham saw it that Aearo Technology’s bankruptcy signaled that 3M shouldn’t be afforded the same relief from the thousands of lawsuits they’re currently facing. 

July 27th, 2022 Update

The 3M Earplugs litigation is ongoing and lawyers across the country are still accepting clients. 

3M announced that Aearo Technologies, the company that originally produced the Combat Arms Earplugs, is moving toward Chapter 11 Bankruptcy along with other 3M subsidiary companies. 

3M is establishing a $1 billion trust to handle all legal proceedings related to the earplug defects. 

Visit this page for more updates as they become available. 

July 1st, 2022 Update

The 3M litigation is ongoing and lawyers across the country are still accepting clients. 

The Wall Street Journal published an article on the litigation: “3M Faces Potentially Billions in Liabilities Over $7.63 Earplugs“.  This article is one of the most prominent pieces of journalistic criticism against 3M and provides an overview on the monetary cost incurred by the company. 

While this is the largest mass tort in history, with over 100,000 lawsuits consolidated in multi-district litigation and more to be added, there hasn’t been as much media coverage as is expected. This Wall Street Journal article could be a flashpoint that leads to more publication of this important lawsuit. 

On Friday May 20, 2022, 3M was ordered to pay $77.5 million to a veteran who suffered hearing damage in the final bellwether trial. 

This follows a $2.2 million verdict awarded to a veteran in the 15th bellwether trial decided earlier in the month and a decision in favor of 3M in the 14th bellwether trial. 

3M has won 6 of the 16 bellwether trials to date. All others have resulted in significant monetary compensation to veterans. 

What Are 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?

Between 2003 and 2013, 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 were the exclusive hearing protection product used in numerous military conflicts by all branches of the United States military, including the:

  • Navy
  • Army
  • Marines
  • Air Force

The 3M Arms Earplugs Version 2 was designed to protect against loud noises and hearing loss from gunfire, explosions, bombings, and vehicles.

Initially manufactured by Aearo Technologies, later acquired by 3M in 2008, the dual-ended combat arms earbuds were found to be defective after years of widespread use and distribution across the military.

Instead of blocking soundwaves, the earbuds were too short for proper insertion in the ear canal, causing them to loosen and not properly protect service members from potentially harmful sounds.

Veterans claim defective earplugs cause serious injuries - injuries as a result of the defective earbuds range from tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) to partial or total hearing loss.

You may qualify for a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit if you are a current or former service member, who served between 2003 and 2015, and suffer from:

  • Tinnitus
  • Hearing loss
    • Partial or total hearing loss

Do I Qualify to Participate in a Lawsuit?

In order to qualify to participate in a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit, you must meet the following:

  • Served in the US military between 2003 and 2015
  • Must have used military issued 3M Combat Arms earplugs during military service
  • Must have been diagnosed with unilateral or bilateral hearing loss
  • Must NOT have any of the following:
    • Waardenburg syndrome
    • Branchiootorenal syndrome
    • Stickler syndrome
    • Usher syndrome
    • Pendred syndrome
    • Alport syndrome
    • Otosclerosis
    • Meniere's disease

If you meet these qualifications, contact a 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawyer from our firm to discuss your situation, free of charge and no obligation required.

3M Earplugs Defects

In 2003, the government issued an RFP, or government contract proposal, to Aearo Technologies to create an earplug that would be included in standard military gear.

The company falsely certified the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 was up to the designated standards by confirming they had a certain noise reduction rating (NPR) and would protect military members from damaging sounds.

Proper testing was careless and negligent, yet the company confirmed to the government the earbuds tested at the required 22 NPR rate.

In reality, the noise-canceling side of the 3M earplug tested at an average rate of about -2 NPR, acting as an amplifier.

The flip-side of the earplug, which allows some noise to enter the ear, tested at 10.9 NPR, a vast difference in hearing protection from what was presented in fabricated test results.

 

3M combat arms earplugs; 3M earplugs; personal injury; Tinnitus; military earplugs; earplug noise reduction;

Testing Showed Design Defect

During testing, results showed the 3M earplug, in fact, was not as effective as intended, not only because of the lower NPR rate, but also because of a design defect that caused them to loosen in the ear canal as a result of the earbud itself being too short to be properly inserted.

According to a whistleblower lawsuit filed by the Moldex-Metric, Inc. on behalf of the US Department of Justice, 3M and Aearo have known since as early as 2000 that the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were defective.

After acquiring Aearo, 3M hired Aearo employees, including developers, who were aware of the product defect through pre-market testing in 2000.

Aearo Technologies and its parent company 3M failed to acknowledge or notify the design defects to the United States government and consequently put the health of service members across military branches at risk.

The whistleblower lawsuit was resolved in July 2018 with 3M agreeing to pay a $9.1 million settlement, but it is far from the end for legal action against 3M for their defective earplugs.

Service Members Who Received Defective Earplugs

The defective earbuds were standard issue to all military personnel during the following military conflicts:

  • The Iraq War
  • War in Afghanistan
  • War in North-West Pakistan (part of War on Terror)
  • War in Somalia
  • Operation Ocean Shield in the Indian Ocean
  • American-led intervention in Libya (2011- part of Libyan Crisis)
  • American-led intervention in Iraq (2014 – 2017)
  • American-led intervention in Syria (2014 to present)
  • Yemeni Civil War (2015 to present)
  • American Intervention in Libya (2015 to present)

Do 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Cause Hearing Loss?

The 3M earplug was designed as an inverted cone shape, meant to be used in two different ways, signified by colors on either side of the plug.

The green side of the 3M earplug allows for some hearing at a slightly muted level, meant to be used in situations like using a radio or listening to a conversation.

The other, yellow end of the earbuds would provide more extensive noise protection, and is meant to be used in situations where hearing protection is crucial, such as when around gunfire, vehicles, explosions, and other loud noises.

A major defect with the 3M earplug was not disclosed to the government.

After providing the 3M earplug to servicemembers for years, the defect brought to light the significant hearing damage the earbuds could have caused to service members who used them.

Rather than being a hearing protector, a lack of proper insertion into the user's ears caused irreparable hearing loss and disabilities.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, veterans who served overseas, specifically during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom between September 2001 and March 2010, were four times more likely to suffer from significant hearing loss than non-veterans.

According to the comprehensive 2017 Annual Benefits Report published by the Veterans Benefits Administration, auditory disabilities were the number two cause of treatment between 2013 and 2017.

In 2017, 3,101,223 men and women were treated for auditory disabilities.

Tinnitus and hearing loss are the top two service-connected disabilities treated by the Veteran's Administration.

Tinnitus accounts for 7.7%, or 1,786,980 and hearing loss accounts for 5.0% or 1,157,585 of all disabilities.

However, the number of affected individuals may be higher because many do not report their injuries or seek treatment.

Proper protection for soldiers is vital when faced with life or death situations while protecting our country.

For companies that do business with the government, all should be providing properly made safety equipment for military members.

It seems that the 3M earplug did not meet these standards despite its extensive use throughout military branches.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing in the years.

While not considered a medical condition, it is an underlying cause of medical issues such as an ear injury or Auditory processing disorder (APD).

For military members who used the 3M Combat Arms Earbuds Version 2, tinnitus could be a result of permanent hearing damage from not being properly protected when around deafening noises while deployed during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

If you believe you are suffering from tinnitus, hearing loss, or Auditory processing disorder (APD), contact a medical professional to diagnose your injuries.

Do 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Cause Tinnitus?

Yes.

Among the other hearing-related injuries associated with the 3M earplug, tinnitus is one of the injuries caused by the 3M earplug defect.

If you developed tinnitus during your time in the service, it could be the fault of 3M's defective product.

You likely qualify to participate in the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit.

Is Having a Hearing Aid Considered a Disability?

According to the ADA, hearing loss is considered a disability and individuals that suffer from permanent hearing loss can qualify for disability.

Whether you qualify for disability due to hearing loss depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the type of hearing loss, the severity of hearing loss, and whether the hearing loss is permanent.

The ADA offers a comprehensive hearing loss guideline to help determine your rights and whether you qualify as disabled.

Filing a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit

TorHoerman Law is proud to help our brave servicemen and women.

Our firm is currently filing a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit on behalf of servicemen and women who unfortunately suffered serious ear injuries during military combat as the result of 3M's negligence and greed.

The VA recently reported that more than 2.6 million veterans are currently receiving disability compensation for tinnitus, partial or total hearing loss.

If you are currently serving or previously served in the US military, served at any point in time between 2003 to 2015, and you suffer from tinnitus, partial or total hearing, you may be eligible to participate in a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit.

Contact us to talk with an attorney at TorHoerman Law today.

You fought for us, now let us fight for you.

Steps to File a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit

Hundreds of vets have filed 3M earplug lawsuits already.

Be sure to follow the steps below in order to give your 3M earplug lawsuit the best chance at achieving justice and compensation.

Mitigate Your Injuries

The first and one of the most important steps in ensuring a strong case is to mitigate your injuries by seeking medical treatment and diagnosis right away.

Be sure to follow your doctor's orders and do everything in your power to reduce the impacts of your injury.

Gather Evidence

Be sure to begin collecting all military service records and medical records as soon as possible - gathering evidence for your lawsuit is another important step in the process and is key to proving your damages.

Evidence will help to prove that your injuries resulted from 3M earplugs and that you suffered both economic and non-economic losses as a result.

Contact a 3M Earplugs Lawyer

Once you have begun to gather evidence, it is time to begin seeking legal aid.

Hiring a personal injury attorney can greatly increase your chances of a successful 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit.

You should also familiarize yourself with the steps in the civil litigation process to have a better understanding of your role and your attorney's duties.

Because statutes of limitations bar you from taking legal action after an allotted time, you should not hesitate to seek legal aid.

Once you provide more detail about your case, your attorney will be able to determine what personal injury damages you qualify for - you may choose to file for both compensatory damages and punitive damages.

3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit Settlements

3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit Settlements

3M has already agreed to settlements with a number of service members who have suffered hearing loss, tinnitus, and other injuries linked to the 3M Combat Arms earplugs.

There are upwards of 250,000 pending 3M earplug lawsuits in multidistrict litigation.

What is the Average Payout For the 3M Earplug Lawsuit?

3M Earplug lawsuit settlements differ from case to case and depend heavily on the specifics surrounding each service member's injuries.

Based on the 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawsuit settlements that have been disclosed so far, service-members who have suffered partial hearing loss have received settlements ranging from $50,000 to $300,000.

As time goes on, more information on settlement amounts will be available. Currently, there is not enough public information available to determine the settlement range for more serious permanent hearing loss.

3M Earplug Lawsuit Bellwether Trials

Bellwether trials relating to nationwide 3M Earplug lawsuits have recently awarded two Army veterans $110 million for injuries and damages.

The veterans were each awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $40 million in punitive damages.

3M plans to appeal these rulings.

Plaintiffs and 3M have split bellwether rulings, with plaintiffs winning out on 5 of the last 10 trials over damages relating to 3M earplugs.

Other settlements awarded against 3M include an $8.2 million ruling, a $22.5 million ruling, and a $1.7 million ruling.

The 3M Earplug Lawsuit: The Biggest Mass Tort in History

As millions used the 3M earplug and hundreds of thousands have filed lawsuits alleging hearing-related injuries, the case against 3M and its subsidiary Aearo Technologies is positioned to become the largest mass tort case ever.

Other Legal Action Against 3M

3M has been named in a number of lawsuits across the country over the years, paying out millions of dollars in settlements for environmental contamination, among other issues.

Environmental Contamination

In October 2021, 3M agreed to pay a $98 million settlement for the contamination of the Tennessee River near its Decatur, Alabama facility.

3M's manufacturing and disposal of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS or forever chemicals, triggered the lawsuits.

PFAS contamination has been a legal issue for the company, as 3M has faced lawsuits in California, New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois.

3M paid out over $65 million to residents of a New York town who filed a lawsuit over drinking water contaminated with the toxic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Product Liability

3M has been named in a lawsuit which alleges that faulty breathing equipment killed 2 California firefighters.

3M is also named in another lawsuit involving firefighters: hundreds of current and retired firefighters are suing due to the presence of PFAS or forever chemicals found in protective equipment.

Lawsuits against 3M for a faulty medical device were reinstated in August 2021, alleging “3M's Bair Hugger can cause deep-joint infections in orthopedic surgeries."

Coal miners have sued 3M, alleging that faulty or defective masks contributed to their pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, diagnoses.

Financial Implications for 3M

3M is a widely recognized manufacturer of everyday consumer products, healthcare materials, safety equipment, and more.

Their annual revenue for 2021 was over $35 billion.

The financial impact this mass tort case against 3M may have on the company’s growth and market share could be troublesome.

According to Bloomberg, 3M’s stock valuation relative to its competitors implies a discount of about $33 billion due to its earplug lawsuits - 3M shares are worth 19% less than they were in July 2018.

After the most recent $110 million settlement, 3M stock prices fell 4% in the days following.

TorHoerman Law: Your 3M Combat Earplugs Lawyer

At TorHoerman Law, our team of 3M combat earplugs lawyers is experienced in all types of defective products lawsuits.

A 3M combat earplugs lawyer from TorHoerman Law is available to speak to any service member who believes that he or she has a potential 3M combat earplugs lawsuit, free of charge and no obligation necessary.

Contact TorHoerman Law to talk to a 3M combat earplugs lawyer now.

Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

“3M Can’t Duck Earplug Suit With Gov’t Contract Preemption.” Law360, www.law360.com/classaction/articles/1295529/3m-can-t-duck-earplug-suit-with-gov-t-contract-preemption.

“Annual Benefits Report Veterans Benefits Administration Fiscal Year 2017.” Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2017, www.benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/abr/docs/2017_abr.pdf.

Carlson, Mr. David. “False Claims Act.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, 21 Apr. 2015, www.law.cornell.edu/wex/false_claims_act.

Curley, Mike. “3M Can’t Pin Defective Earplugs On Gov’t, Military Users Say.” Law360, Portfolio Media, Inc., 2 Apr. 2020, www.law360.com/articles/1259819/3m-can-t-pin-defective-earplugs-on-gov-t-military-users-say.

DePass, Dee. “3M Continues to Deal with Lawsuits Regarding Defective Earplugs, PFAS Chemicals.” Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 22 Jan. 2020, http://www.startribune.com/3m-continues-to-deal-with-lawsuits-regarding-defective-earplugs-pfas-chemicals/567166652/.

Marshall, Josh. “Combat Veteran Files Lawsuit for Loss of Hearing Due to Defective Military Ear Plugs.” KHOU, KHOU, 22 Jan. 2019, www.khou.com/article/news/local/combat-veteran-files-lawsuit-for-loss-of-hearing-due-to-defective-military-ear-plugs/285-51892502-058e-4944-8cb3-274fd350d8e7.

Judge In MDL Won’t Send 3M Earplug Claims To Minn. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.law360.com/articles/1316158

Plaintiffs Prevail On Choice Of Law For 3M Earplug MDL Trials. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2021, from https://www.law360.com/productliability/articles/1346348/plaintiffs-prevail-on-choice-of-law-for-3m-earplug-mdl-trials?nl_pk=4ea5443d-d995-4317-90cc-b8209e697bbb&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=productliability

Rempfer, Kyle. “Company to Pay $9 Million after Allegedly Selling Defective Combat Earplugs to US Military.” Military Times, Military Times, 26 July 2018, www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/07/26/company-to-pay-9-million-after-allegedly-selling-defective-combat-earplugs-to-us-military/.

“Severe Hearing Impairment Among Military Veterans — United States, 2010.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 July 2011, www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6028a4.htm.

Smith, K. (2021, January 04). Lawsuits over 3M military earplugs reach major milestone. Retrieved January 05, 2021, from https://www.legalexaminer.com/health/lawsuits-over-3m-military-earplugs-reach-major-milestone/

Tiron, Roxana, and Martina Barash. 3M Officials Say Troops Didn’t Need to Know Proper Use of Plugs (1).” Bloomberg Government, 24 Apr. 2020, about.bgov.com/news/3m-officials-say-troops-didnt-need-to-know-proper-use-of-plugs/.

Trial Dates Set For Spring In 3M Earplug MDL. (n.d.). Retrieved January 05, 2021, from https://www.law360.com/articles/1341405/trial-dates-set-for-spring-in-3m-earplug-mdl

Share

Litigation Updates

3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit Update May 2022

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit Update May 2022

Latest 3M Earplug Bellwether Trials see $50 Million and $8 Million Verdicts in Favor of Veterans

March 30, 2022

March 30, 2022

Latest 3M Earplug Bellwether Trials see $50 Million and $8 Million Verdicts in Favor of Veterans

$13 Million Awarded in 3M Earplug Lawsuit

November 16, 2021

November 16, 2021

$13 Million Awarded in 3M Earplug Lawsuit

Jury Hits 3M with $8.2M Verdict in Latest Earplugs Trial

October 2, 2021

October 2, 2021

Jury Hits 3M with $8.2M Verdict in Latest Earplugs Trial

Plaintiffs Prevail On Choice of Law for 3M Earplug MDL Trials

January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021

Plaintiffs Prevail On Choice of Law for 3M Earplug MDL Trials

Bellwether Trial Date Set for Largest Mass Tort in History

January 5, 2021

January 5, 2021

Bellwether Trial Date Set for Largest Mass Tort in History

CLIENT REVIEWS

quotation
Tom Lewis

TorHoerman Law was responsible for handling a medical case for our family. I was extremely impressed with their professionalism and ability to react quickly. They also did a nice job keeping us updated with the case throughout the process. This was the first time experiencing a situation like this and Tor Hoerman law did an excellent job from start to finish.

quotation
Jordan Terry

TorHoerman Law is an extraordinary law firm – a firm that truly makes the client’s best interests the primary concern. Their team of personal injury lawyers are experienced, personable, and well versed in a range of litigation areas. They are supported by a dedicated team of staff that are as equally friendly and helpful. I would recommend TorHoerman Law for any personal injury litigation needs.

quotation
Dave Woodley

All of my questions were answered quickly and in a way I could understand. Steve and the entire staff were friendly and professional.

quotation
Jordan Butler

I highly recommend this law firm! The attorneys and staff at THL worked hard, communicated every step of the process, kept me well informed at all times, and exceeded all expectations! The staff is kind, considerate, professional, and very experienced. Look no further, call now!

quotation
Maddy Moeller

Top-notch, hardworking attorneys!

quotation
Karen Hersman

A wonderful and professional legal team. They helped me when I needed expert legal representation! Thank you TorHoerman Law!

quotation
Angel Truesdale

They contacted me the next day. Very nice people!

quotation
Paul Graegin

The firm went above and beyond. Thank you for everything.

quotation
Carie Terry

The attorneys at THL were extremely helpful with the legal aspects of setting up my small business.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR MESSAGE

One of our associates will follow up with you shortly