Military Ear Plug Lawsuit: You May Be Entitled to Compensation
The recent settlement in favor of the U.S. service members in the 3M Ear Plug Lawsuit has once again highlighted the importance of protection against noise pollution in the workplace, and specifically in the military, where hearing loss is the number one service-related disability in men and women.
The department of defense was sold defective dual-ended combat arms ear plugs that were used in combat.
Exposure to noise pollution is a given due to the nature of the job when you serve in the military, for most personnel. Some are exposed to constant noise pollution over an extended period, others, in active combat or training exercises, will face regular booming and extremely loud noises in addition to the ongoing noise generated by military vehicles. This can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus.
Tinnitus involves the perception of sound or ringing in the ears, thus the sensation of sound where no external sound is present. It is not really a condition, but a symptom of an underlying condition such as ear injury or hearing loss and can get worse with age.
The phantom sounds include buzzing, humming, ringing, roaring, clicking, and hissing, which may vary in pitch. It is heard in one or both ears, will come and go, and is sometimes so loud that it interferes with your ability to hear sound or to concentrate.
It is mostly caused by damage to the inner ear hair cells, which moves in relation to the pressure of soundwaves and triggers electrical impulses to your auditory nerve. The brain interprets these impulses as sounds. Short or long-term exposure to loud noise can cause permanent damage
2. Noise-Induced Hearing Impairment
Hearing loss is defined as conductive (outer and middle ear), sensorineural (inner ear) or mixed. Prolonged and chronic exposure to loud noises, or sudden bursts of noise at high decibels, or a blow to the head, can cause permanent hearing loss.
Hearing impairment is typically defined as an increase in the threshold of hearing, according to the WHO (World Health Organization). It is assessed by threshold audiometry and in occupational settings compared to a baseline test.
Symptoms include trouble hearing consonants, muffling of speech or other sounds, difficulty understanding words against background noise, struggling to hear women’s or children’s voices, needing volume on tv, phones or radios turned up, and withdrawal from social activities.
3. Blast-related Comorbidities
Evaluation of any patient with combat-related head trauma must include possible blast-related comorbidities including dizziness and imbalance, speech or language problems, and PTSD. A blow to the head or a very high instantaneous sound pressure level can cause mechanical damage to the ear.
4. Interference with Speech Communication
Interference with speech comprehension due to hearing loss causes problems with cognitive and mental functioning, human relations, and a number of stress reactions.
5. Other Physiological, Social and Emotional Impacts
There are some devastating long-term effects caused by noise-induced injuries, such as sleep deprivation, inability to relax or concentrate, fatigue, stress, anxiety and memory problems. It affects your overall quality of life, including the type of employment, family and social relationships and can lead to depression, isolation, and even eventual cognitive decline.
Acute noise exposures also activate the autonomic and hormonal systems, which produces increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and vasoconstriction. This may even develop, after prolonged exposure, into hypertension and ischaemic heart disease associated with exposure to high sound pressure levels.
You Must Act Now to Protect Yourself
If you were in military service between 2003 and 2015 and used 3M combat arms earplugs by Aearo Technologies you may be entitled to compensation. The timeframe for claiming justice and restitution is diminishing by the day – statutes of limitation apply so you need to file now if you have suffered loss or damage.
Call Eileen Kroll, a nurse and Personal Injury trial attorney, at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-466-9912) or fill in the contact form on our website for a call-back and free case evaluation consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless a recovery is made.