What should I know about the lawsuit for 3M earplug hearing loss?


Earplug Hearing Loss Lawyers


McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is currently accepting case reviews for any U.S. service member who was on active duty between 2003 and 2015 and suffered from hearing loss or tinnitus. For a free case review with a 3M defective earplugs lawyer, please call us today or complete the form on this page.


If you’ve been following up with recent media, you might have heard about the recent $9.1 milion agreement by 3M to compensation victims of hearing loss. The following is a brief overview about what you should understand.


The Problem

The lawsuit, initially filed by a whistleblower and later joined by the U.S. Department of Justice, claimed the  Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) made by 3M were knowingly defective because they can become loose while being worn; thereby, exposing the wearer to dangerous limits of sounds. This can result in temporary, long term, or permanent hearing loss.


3M Agrees to Pay $9.1 Million in Settlements


In July 2018, 3M agreed to pay back the government and a settlement worth $9.1 million to veterans. The agreement concluded the end to the lawsuit and resolved allegations against the company which involved them knowing about the product defect, failure to properly instruct the wearer, and manipulating initial testing.  


The U.S. Department of Defense alleged that 3M was aware of the  Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) being too short. This made it difficult for some of the wearers to fit the earplug adequate into the ear canal. According to the lawsuit 3M, and the initial maker Aearo, had been aware of the defect as early as 2000, but hide their knowledge from the government.


What Might Happen and Who is At Most Risk?


When the earplugs did not fit properly, sounds from explosions, aircraft, machinery, and gun fire may have entered into the ear canal; thereby causing:


  • An ongoing ringing in the ear (Tinnitus)
  • Hearing loss
  • Deafness


Who Used the  Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2)?


In 2003, 3M secured a contract with the Department of Defense worth millions of dollars. The contract agreed to supply all branches of the military with Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2). The earplugs were standard issue to service men and women who were involved in:


  • The Iraq War
  • The War in Afghanistan
  • The War in North-West Pakistan
  • The War in Somalia
  • Operation Ocean Shield
  • The Libyan Crisis
  • The American-led Intervention in Syria
  • The Yemen Civil War


All branches of the U.S. military wore these earplugs while in the above areas.


Has Your Hearing Been Damaged by Potentially Defective Earplugs?

According to the Veterans Affairs, hearing loss and hearing related problems is one of the most common long term medical conditions that military service members are facing. The consequences of hearing loss can be devastating and exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD and depression.

3M Earplug Lawyer

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is currently working with U.S. veterans who suffered hearing loss between 2003 and 2015. If you believe you wore these earplugs while station abroad, in combat zones, and you have hearing loss or tinnitus, we encourage you to call us for a free case review.