Veterans throughout the country, including those who served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, have accused Aearo Technologies, Inc., and its successor, 3M Company, of knowingly selling defective dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) to the military between 2003 and 2015.
The earplugs were supposedly designed to block out damaging combat sounds such as gunfire and explosions. At the same time, they were supposed to allow soldiers to hear low-level noises such as conversations. However, due to a design flaw, the earplugs could slip loose without a soldier realizing it, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. As a result, thousands of service members may have been exposed to the risk of suffering severe ear damage due to their use of these devices, including those who served overseas in areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan or at Alabama military bases such as Fort Rucker Military Base or Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base.
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What Injuries Are Associated with 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?
Veterans who wore defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs during their time in the service may have been exposed to hazardous noises from gunfire, explosions, jet engines or heavy equipment. Today, they may suffer from problems such as:
Loud noises can damage hair cell bundles in the ear. Because these hair cell bundles cannot be repaired or replaced, the damage typically causes permanent loss of hearing. Victims typically require hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Ear damage can cause people to hear a constant or periodic ringing, buzzing, humming or clicking sound. People with tinnitus often suffer from fatigue, stress, concentration and memory problems. It can be a debilitating condition.
Loss of balance
Those who suffer damage to the inner ear may experience feelings of dizziness, unsteadiness, floating, disorientation, confusion, faintness or vertigo. As a result, they cannot carry on with work and other daily activities.
Any hearing problem can cause feelings of depression and anxiety in those that experience it regardless of whether they suffer from tinnitus or permanent hearing loss.
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