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3M Military Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) Lawsuits

Hearing Loss or Tinnitus Caused by 3M Earplugs? Call (800) 315-3806

From 2003 to 2015, 3M Corp. sold its Combat Arms Earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency for military use. The dual-ended earplugs were routinely used in several branches of the military and were the only earplugs available to military personnel between 2003 and 2012.

In July 2018, 3M agreed to settle claims that it knowingly supplied the military with defective earplugs that failed to effectively reduce loud noises. Now, it’s facing civil lawsuits from a growing number of servicemembers and veterans with lasting injuries caused by their use of 3M’s defective earplugs.

If you suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus, or other health conditions related to the use of defective 3M Combat earplugs, you may be entitled to compensation.

Levy Konigsberg 3M Miliary Earplug Lawyers Can Help

Levy Konigsberg is a U.S. News “Best Law Firms” ranked trial practice that’s recovered over $3 million in compensation for clients. We’re known for handling some of the country’s most complex and high-profile cases and have amassed a proven record of success in claims involving defective products.

Now, we’re using our experience and resources to help servicemembers and veterans with injuries caused by defective CAEv2 earplugs fight for the compensation they deserve.

If you have questions about 3M combat earplug lawsuits and how our firm can help, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online for a FREE consultation. Our team is reviewing claims nationwide.

What are 3M Military Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2)?

3M Military Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) are noise-cancellation devices that were once used by the military to protect servicemembers from loud sounds during training and deployment exercises.

The earplugs are intended to reduce the likelihood of hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears), two of the most common conditions reported by military personnel. Hearing loss can result from either a single incident or prolonged exposure to explosive sounds.

What is Happening with 3M Military Combat Arms Earplug (CAEv2) Lawsuits?

Claims against 3M allege that the Military Combat Earplugs did not remain securely in the user’s ears and that the company sold its earplugs despite being aware that they were improperly designed.

While 3M discontinued its CAEv2 earplugs in 2015, it has continued to face regulatory actions for defrauding the government, sharp criticism from advocates and legal experts, and civil lawsuits filed by victims. Here are some notable events:

3M Settles DOJ False Claims Act Case

In July, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle claims that it knowingly sold defective earplugs to the government. Specifically, the settlement resolved claims that 3M and its predecessor Aearo Technologies:

  1. Sold earplugs they knew were too short to be interested properly into users’ ears, and which could loosen without users’ knowledge so that they did not provide adequate protection; and
  2. Sold Combat earplugs to the U.S. military without disclosing known defects which hampered their effectiveness.

While this was a sizeable payout, the settlement concerned only the government’s allegations brought under the False Claims Act (FCA), a federal law that holds individuals and entities liable for defrauding federal government programs. As a result, this settlement is not meant to be a source of compensation for servicemembers who suffered serious and life-altering injuries from using the defective earplugs.

Victims with injuries caused by CAEv2 earplugs will instead need to pursue civil lawsuits of their own to recover compensation for their losses.

Other updates in the 3M earplug litigation:

  • In February 2023, a hearing for arguments on a motion filed by 3M earplug plaintiffs asking the court to immediately dismiss Aearo’s bankruptcy was pushed to April.
  • In January 2023, mediation in the 3M earplug MDL was halted after settlement talks between 3M and plaintiffs proved unproductive. The presiding judge stated that the move was necessary because 3M flatly refused to consider a global settlement, though mediators in bankruptcy court have reported that good faith negotiations are ongoing.
  • On December 23, 2022, the federal judge presiding over the 3M earplug litigation imposed sanctions on 3M over its efforts to shift liabilities for earplug-related injuries to its subsidiary Aearo Technologies in what the judge called a “brazen abuse of the litigation process.” The sanctions impose sole liability for all earplug claims on 3M.
  • In August 2022, 3M appealed a ruling from a U.S. bankruptcy court that denied the company from using bankruptcy protections to block more than 230,000 earplug claims. 3M had previously placed its Aearo subsidiary into bankruptcy in July.
  • In April 2019, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized and transferred 3M earplug lawsuits to a Florida district court so claims can be processed more efficiently.

Injuries Associated with 3M Military Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2)

Defective 3M CAEv2 earplugs have been associated with significant hearing-related injuries, including:

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Studies have shown that exposure to very loud sounds, as well as extended or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels (equivalent to the sound of city traffic), can cause hearing loss. Due to their defects, CAEv2 earplugs failed to adequately protect servicemembers from damaging noises that are common during training and active-duty combat.

Depending on the severity of injury, victims may have hearing loss classified as mild, moderate, severe, or profound.

  • Mild hearing loss makes it harder to hear conversations when there is noise in the background and can cause disruptions for individuals with certain jobs.
  • Moderate hearing loss can significantly hinder a person’s ability to maintain conversations in person or over the phone and complete tasks essential to certain jobs or daily tasks.
  • Severe hearing loss can create substantial challenges in a person’s ability to meet the demands of daily living. Often, it necessitates the need for hearing aids or assistive devices, as individuals with this level of hearing loss will consistently interrupt others to repeat themselves or miss crucial details in conversations.
  • Profound hearing loss is life changing. People with this level of hearing loss are generally unable to hear others speak unless conversations are extremely loud. They will also require hearing aids and medical devices such as cochlear implants to handle daily tasks.


Tinnitus is a medical condition characterized by a persistent perception of sound when there is no external source. It is most caused by exposure to harmful noises that cause irreparable damage to hair cells in the ear responsible for healthy hearing. Studies have shown that damage to these hairs and other parts of the hear can impair how the brain receives and interprets sound signals.

  • Normal hearing. In people with normal hearing, sound waves travel from exterior sources through the ear canal and into the middle and inner ear, where they’re turned into electrical signals by tiny hair cells in the cochlea. Those signals are then interpreted by the brain as specific sounds we’re able to recognize.
  • Hearing with tinnitus. When any part of the auditory pathway is damaged, such as damaged cochlear hair cells (sensorineural hearing loss), sound signals don’t make it to the brain. Instead, the brain will essentially “turn up the gain” in an effort to detect any signals it can, similar to how a radio / volume controls are adjusted when trying to tune into a station. The result is abnormal neuron activity and the perception of noises such as buzzing, humming, whining, etc.

People with tinnitus may hear sound that seems to come from one or both ears and may describe these sounds as high-pitched whining, whistling, roaring, buzzing, or ringing. Most people with tinnitus also have some level of hearing loss and experience a range of adverse consequences as a result of their condition, including:

  • Fatigue and sleeping difficulties
  • Problems with concentration and communication
  • Social isolation, anxiety, and depression
  • Difficulties working or performing certain job duties
  • Inability to enjoy hobbies
  • Loss of quality of life

3M CAEv2 Earplug Lawsuits: Do I Have a Case?

Thousands of U.S. servicemembers and veterans may have suffered serious and life-altering injuries because of using defective 3M CAEv2 earplugs during their service.

You may have a potential 3M earplug lawsuit if:

  1. You served in the U.S. armed forces (Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, etc.) during the time that 3M CAEv2 earplugs were issued (2003-2015);
  2. You used 3M CAEv2 earplugs for military training exercises or active-duty combat; and
  3. You suffered hearing loss, tinnitus, or other injuries or disabilities.

Our 3M earplug lawsuit lawyers at Levy Konigsberg can evaluate your situation and whether you may have a claim for compensation. Our firm offers FREE and confidential consultations and serves clients nationwide.

Compensation for 3M Earplug Injuries

Noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing-related injuries can have widespread repercussions on a person’s physical wellbeing, mental health, and ability to work and earn income.

As such, current and former servicemembers filing 3M CAEv2 lawsuits are seeking compensation for a range of damages. These include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Costs associated with hearing aids, assistive medical devices, and procedures to improve hearing
  • Lost income and lost future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional injuries
  • Other economic and non-economic losses

Call For a FREE Consultation: (800) 315-3806

Contact our 3M Military Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) lawyers to review whether you or a family member may be entitled to financial compensation. Levy Konigsberg is currently accepting 3M Military Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has suffered one or more of these complications, you may be entitled to a cash award and compensation for medical expenses. For a free confidential consultation with 3M Military Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) Lawyers at our law firm, please call (800) 315-3806 or complete an online form.


Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.

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