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Local veterans claim 3M sold military defective earplugs, and they’re paying the price

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Local veterans claim 3M sold military defective earplugs, and they’re paying the price

Veterans across the country are filing lawsuits against 3M, the company that supplied the U.S military with protective earplugs for over a decade.

The lawsuits allege 3M knew the Combat Arms earplugs (version 2) were defective, but sold them to the government from 2003-2015, resulting in hearing issues for veterans.

Round Rock veteran Lloyd Carroll recently added his name to the list of plaintiffs. “I was an infantry soldier, so I was constantly in firefights loud noises explosions,” says Carroll.

Carroll served overseas for nine years in Korea and Iraq. When he got home, he was diagnosed with tinnitus, a condition characterized by constant ringing in the ears. “It’s mostly when you get back to the States and don’t hear all the loud noises, but you keep hearing the ringing,” says Carroll.

Carroll says most of the people he served with also have tinnitus or hearing loss — a battle scar he claims could have been prevented. “If I can put a voice to this and it helps the government listen and holds 3M and anybody out there who’s done the government wrong and done us military veterans wrong, is the reason I’m doing this,” says Carroll.

In a settlement last July, 3M agreed to pay the Department of Justice $9.1 million following the earplug allegations. The company voluntarily discontinued the Combat Arms earplugs (version 2) in 2015 but has not admitted liability.

In a statement to CBS Austin, 3M addressed the recent lawsuits:

3M has great respect for the brave men and women who protect us around the world and their safety is our priority. We have a long history of partnering with the U.S. military, and we continue to make products to help protect our troops and support their missions. We deny this product was defectively designed and will defend against the allegations in these lawsuits through the legal process.

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