El Paso Attorney Discusses 3M Earplugs Impact on U.S. Vets
Earplugs are designed to protect users' ears from loud noises and prevent tinnitus (ringing in ears) and loss of hearing. In many cases, earplugs are effective. Military personnel often use earplugs during training and on the battlefield.
However, the design of 3M earplugs has proven to be defective, CBS News reports. As a result, several U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003-2015 suffered hearing loss and tinnitus. This has led to a flood of lawsuits from veterans who claim that the company knowingly sold the U.S.military defective earplugs.
These lawsuits come on the heels of a Justice Department settlement in July alleging that 3M defrauded the government for more than a decade by selling defective earplugs to the military personnel. While 3M omitted any liability in the case, they agreed to pay $9.1 million to the government.
Testimony from veterans
"We've just been told that, 'This is the equipment you get and it's the best out there. It's gonna save your hearing,'" said Joseph Junk, who served in the Army for three years. "Later on, we found out that it didn't really protect our hearing that much at all."
According to David Hendersen, who served six years in the military, the company was well aware of the defect.
"It wasn't an omission. It wasn't something missed. It was deliberately lying to gain money and hurting our service members," Hendersen said.
Both Junk and Hendersen suffer from tinnitus, which according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, is the most common disability sustained by veterans. More than 2.7 million veterans receive benefits for this condition.
The devastating effects of tinnitus
Dr. Thomas Roland of NYU Langone Health discusses the cause of ear ringing and why earplugs may not be effective at preventing it.
"When sound strikes the bone of our skull, the bone moves with the sound," he said. "Even if you completely block the ear, sound above a certain level can still get to the inner ear through bone conduction, still be very damaging."
The symptoms of tinnitus often involve ringing, buzzing and other non-external sounds that intensify with the absence of outside sources of noise. Other symptoms often include fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, anxiety, irritability, depression, and loss of memory.
Consult with an El Paso attorney
It's a shame that the brave men and women who sacrificed to serve our country have to endure the pain and suffering caused by 3M's negligent actions. If you're a U.S. combat veteran who served between 2003-2015, and have sustained hearing loss or tinnitus, we urge you to take legal action. Treatment for hearing loss and tinnitus can be costly. You shouldn't have to pay out of your own pocket.
That's why the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC would like to sit down with you and explore your legal options. Located in El Paso, we are dedicated to helping our veterans receive the compensation they deserve. To learn how we can help you, contact us online to schedule your free consultation.