In early 2019, veterans from all over the country started filing lawsuits against the manufacturing giant 3M. The reason? Defective earplugs that were designed to protect service members from loud noises during combat.
The 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) were issued to U.S. military members who were deployed in various combat zones between 2003 and 2015.
While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how many veterans were affected, potentially millions of veterans are predicted to have been, seeing as 3M has been the sole provider of earplugs to our armed forces since 2003. An assessment of the prevalence of symptoms can help us narrow down the number.
Symptoms of Military-Related Hearing Damage
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, common symptoms of combat-related hearing problems include:
- Difficulty understanding speech, especially in crowded or noisy areas
- Muffled speech
- Trouble hearing consonants
- Frequently asking people to repeat what they said loudly or slowly
- Withdrawing from conversations
- Not attending social situations to avoid conversation
Studies have shown that the effects of 3M’s defective earplugs run deeper than physical symptoms. The emotional deprivation caused by hearing problems has a significant impact on quality of life too.
Emotional and Cognitive Effects of Hearing Loss
Loss of hearing has a direct impact on how we communicate and connect with those around us. Having trouble understanding others can limit our ability to have conversations; often, people find themselves avoiding others as a result. Feelings of loneliness and isolation emerge as a result, even leading to depression over time.
A study conducted by John Hopkins University studied the impact of hearing on cognitive abilities. It found that patients with hearing loss underwent 30–40 percent faster cognitive decline than those with normal hearing.
Loneliness and seclusion are directly linked to cognitive decline, which impairs an individual’s independence significantly.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is showing symptoms of military-related loss or tinnitus caused by faulty 3M military earplugs, you deserve compensation for any damages suffered.
If you served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015 and used the 3M combat earplugs at any time during the service period, contact Little Rock Attorney Lisa Douglas today. She has experience in helping service members file a 3M defective earplugs lawsuit, and can review your case and help determine if you qualify.