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Written by  Keith V. Trantolo

The attorneys at Trantolo & Trantolo are taking cases for Connecticut military veterans who used detective 3M earplugs and suffered tinnitus or hearing loss as a result. If you were a U.S. service member from 2003 to 2015 and suffered an injury from defective 3M earplugs, you might be eligible to receive a settlement to compensate you for your losses. Call us any time, 24/7 at (844) 999-9999, or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation to see if you qualify.


The multinational conglomerate 3M, along with Aearo Technologies, designed, produced, and sold combat earplugs to the United States military from 2003 to 20015 (3M acquired Aearo in 2008). Soldiers in conflict zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, used these earplugs to block loud noises and explosions and prevent hearing loss. The plugs featured a dual-ended design and were intended to be versatile by providing two hearing protection levels. When inserted into the ear, one end created a complete seal that blocked all sound. The other end muffled loud sounds while still allowing low sounds to pass through; thus, protecting the wearer from damaging noises but still allowing them to hear vocal commands and approaching enemies. In 2018, however, a whistleblower alleged that 3M/Aearo had sold the earplugs to the U.S. government, knowing that they had a dangerous defect.


Soldiers rely heavily on their hearing while in combat zones. In many instances, their lives may depend on their ability to communicate with others and detect enemies. Unsurprisingly, the military prioritizes and invests in equipment to protect its soldiers from hearing loss. In theory, 3M earplugs would provide soldiers with two hearing protection levels. In reality, however, the plugs failed on both levels. The plugs were not long enough to create the intended seal in the wearer’s ear and allowed damaging sound vibrations to slip through. As a result, many service members who used 3M earplugs suffered hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as a result.


After U.S. military members had been using 3M earplugs for over a decade, a whistleblower reported that 3M had discovered that the plugs were defective during testing. Instead of disclosing the defect, 3M went forward with the massive government contract to supply its earplugs to the military. On behalf of the Department of Justice, the whistleblower filed a lawsuit against 3M, arguing that it had violated the False Claims Act by selling earplugs that it knew were dangerously defective. Without admitting liability, 3M settled the lawsuit for $9.1 million. This settlement compensated the government but did not go to any individual service members who were injured by the faulty earplugs.

Now, more than 200,000 military veterans who were injured by 3M earplugs are filing individual lawsuits seeking compensation for their losses. It is important to note that this is not a class-action lawsuit but a massive multidistrict litigation. This means that while each claim remains separate, the courts can resolve multiple claims simultaneously. As a result, each plaintiff who files a 3M lawsuit, if successful, will receive an individual settlement award rather than sharing one with other plaintiffs.


If you were a member of the United States military from 2003 to 2015 and suffered hearing loss or tinnitus due to defective 3M earplugs, you might be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced Connecticut 3M lawyer today for a free case evaluation to see if you qualify.


If you were a member of the U.S. military who suffered hearing loss or tinnitus due to defective 3M earplugs, you might be eligible to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more. Our law firm works with experienced CT 3M lawyers who can help you get the most compensation possible for your injuries. Call us today at (844) 999-9999 or click here for our online contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.