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3M Dual-Sided Combat Earplugs Lawsuit

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Loud noises and the military go hand in hand. Whether coming from zooming airplanes, the constant crackling of firing weapons, or the persistent humming of large engines powering battleships, the men and women in the armed forces are under siege by the constant bombardment of noise. To protect service members from irreparable hearing loss, military officials require hearing protection around environments that produce deafening noises.

From 2003 to 2015, the military issued over 2.2 million units of 3M dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) to thousands of United States Military service members. The manufacturer, Minnesota-based company 3M Manufacturing, secured a contract with the military, becoming the sole provider of earplug hearing protection for twelve years. This lucrative contract came about due to the unique CAEv2 earplug dual-sided design. CAEv2 dual-sided feature, one side olive, and the other side yellow was to provide two distinct levels of hearing protection. The olive side of the earplug would give similar protection like that of regular earplugs. The yellow side on the other hand, reduced the hearing protection up to sounds as loud as a gunshot, equipping service members with the ability to understand audible verbal communications during combat or training. The design was intended to help service members conveniently and efficiently accomplish multipurpose protection by simply flipping the CAEv2 earplugs from one side to the other.

In theory, the CAEv2 allocated to a service member the ability to switch between two distinct levels of noise protection using one set of earplugs. However, the CAEv2’s design made achieving a proper fit difficult, which would lead the earplugs to loosen in the ear canal. This ultimately placed limits on the protection from damage-inducing sounds. Exposure from the use of CAEV2 earplugs over time has led some service members to end up developing permeant hearing loss or Tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears).

Fortunately, service members having used CAEv2 earplugs and suffer a permanent loss of hearing or have developed tinnitus may qualify to receive compensation for their life-altering hearing damage. The law office of Reich & Binstock is here to help. Call one of our expert trial lawyers today.

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