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Why Were 3M Earplugs Distributed to the Armed Forces?


Members of the United States military were given 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, which meant to protect them from potential hearing loss. While serving their country, most military members are surrounded by constant loud noises. Even while training, brave men and women are exposed to very loud sounds that could damage their hearing.

Purpose of 3M Earplugs

The US military distributed 3M Combat Arms Earplugs to individuals serving in the military as a means to protect their hearing. The earplugs were believed to contain two special functions, which include the following:

  • One side of the earplugs was supposed to mute all sounds when they were placed inside a person’s ear.

  • If the earplugs were turned around to the other side in the user’s ear, they were supposed to block out louder sounds while still allowing the person to hear softer sounds.


Between 2003 and 2015, 3M earplugs were the standard for members of the military due to their special settings. They were meant to protect service members’ hearing and allow them to listen to commands from military leaders when needed. However, the earplugs had a defect that was present during testing that was not disclosed to the US government.

Problems with the 3M Earplugs

The defect that was present in the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs distributed to members of the military between 2003 and 2015 posed a huge risk of hearing damage and hearing loss. The 3M earplugs were too short, resulting in some people being unable to properly insert them into their ears. When some users inserted the earplugs in, the devices could loosen, which meant they were at risk for suffering hearing loss as it resulted in diminished protection.

3M Earplugs Lawsuit

This problem led to a lawsuit against 3M Company, the manufacturer of the 3M earplugs. The company settled by paying the US government $9.1 million on behalf of the military members who suffered damage to their hearing. The lawsuit claimed that 3M Company posted false test results of its earplugs in spite of knowing they could pose risks of hearing loss.

Recovering Compensation as a Victim

It is possible to recover compensation for hearing loss or damage you suffered as a result of using 3M earplugs between 2003 and 2015 while serving in the military. If you used the earplugs during combat or military practice and were left with hearing loss or tinnitus, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your damages.


If you have suffered hearing damage or loss, tinnitus or other hearing-related problems after using these earplugs in the Armed Forces, you are urged to speak with a personal injury attorney who can work to ensure your rights are protected.


Contact Vollor Law Firm, P.A. at (662) 269-6188 to discuss your case with a skilled personal injury attorney who will advise you on the best course of action to take.

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