3M military earplugs were given to thousands of service soldiers between 2003 and 2015. The Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs have now been discontinued due to causing permanent hearing loss or impairment. More than 2.6 million service men and women are receiving compensation for hearing loss and ringing in their ears.

How were the Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs defective?

The Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs were too short.  Plain and simple. They were too short and would loosen, thus were useless to protect against the sound of gunfire and explosions.


This was known to the two manufacturers as early as 2000. 3M agreed to pay over $9 million in response to these allegations after the earplugs failed safety testing. The government also claimed that 3M did not disclose this design defect to the military when the contract was finalized.

Private lawsuits for compensation for the soldiers have been brought against 3M alleging that:

  • Since late 2003, 3M marketed its Combat Arms earplugs as capable of allowing users to hear commands from friendly soldiers and approaching enemy combatants, unimpaired, in the same way as if they had nothing in their ears. Documents indicate 3M employees knew about the earplug defects as early as 2000.
  • The company falsified the certification stating that the testing of 3M military earplugs complied with military standards, according to the lawsuit.
  • Despite knowledge of the defect, 3M entered into a contract with the U.S. Government in 2006, in which the company supplied an estimated annual quantity of 15,000 earplug packages, with 50 pairs per package, at a guaranteed price of at least $9 million in sales for the year, the lawsuit states.
  • The earplugs were sold to the military until 2015, when 3M discontinued the product. However, the defective pairs were not recalled, and thus are still likely used by soldiers and sold by other vendors, according to the lawsuit.

You may be entitled to compensation from the makers of these earplugs if:

  • You served in the military between 2003-2015
  • You were issued 3M military earplugs during service
  • You suffer from permanent hearing loss or tinnitus

You may be able to recover damages for your pain and suffering, medical bills and any other damages from use of the ear plugs.  To help you in your search for a “personal injury lawyer near me,” contact us for more information and a free consultation.