It is alleged that 3M’s dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs (Version 2 (CAEv2)) were sold to the United States Military without 3M disclosing design or manufacturing defects that reduced the earplugs’ effectiveness in protecting hearing.
A 3M insider “whistleblower” bravely came forward to advice of 3M’s failure to disclose or warn of an alleged known, hidden danger.
These CAEv2 earplugs were designed for US armed forces who were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq from approximately 2003 to 2015. They were advertised as providing protection around explosions, gunfire, etc. The earplugs were also marketed as not blocking out more subtle noises like approaching troops, communications, etc.
Injuries from the allegedly defective 3M earplugs involve hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears for which there is no known cure). There are well over one million soldiers who are seeking treatment for and who are seeking and/or receiving benefits as a result of tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
The earplugs have 2 options, or “ends” which can be flipped for different levels of protection. Unfortunately, 3M was allegedly notified of defects in approximately 2000. The defects center around poor seals, plugs being too short to achieve adequate insertion and a tendency to dislodge from the ear canals in a way that was often not noticed by the soldiers. There is also concern that 3M may have failed to report test data and, perhaps, covered up and/or manipulated test results.