3M Earplug Lawsuit Update and Hearing Loss Settlement Info

Military service members between 2003 and 2015 may be eligible for a 3M earplug lawsuit payout over hearing damage or tinnitus. Learn more about verdicts, settlements and the latest 3m earplug lawsuit updates here.

  • 3M Combat Arm Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) were standard issue for all military service members between 2003 and 2015
  • Design defects with the reversible 3M earplugs exposed users to a risk of permanent hearing damage and tinnitus
  • More than 250,000 veterans have filed a 3M earplug lawsuit and juries have awarded millions in damages in early trials
  • Lawyers are still accepting new cases to pursue 3M earplug settlements

3M Earplug Lawsuit Overview

Millions of 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) have been sold to the U.S. Government, which were standard military issue equipment for all service members between 2003 and 2015.

These military earplugs are “dual-ended” or “reversible”, featuring one end that is olive/dark green/brown and acts like a traditional earplug, blocking all sound. The other end is yellow and provides “non-linear” or “selective attenuation”, which is intended to block loud impulse sounds of battlefield explosions or artillery fire, while allowing the user to hear quiet noises, such as spoken commands or enemy combatants.

According to allegations raised in 3M earplug lawsuits filed by former service members, the manufacturer knew for years that it was selling defective military earplugs that were too short to properly fit the ear canal. This decision to place profits before the health and safety of users has left military service members with permanent hearing loss and tinnitus.

Who is Eligible for a 3M Earplugs Lawsuit Payout?

Financial compensation may be available through a 3M earplug lawsuit payout or settlement for individuals who meet the following criteria;

  • Served in the Military Between 2003 and 2015 and were Issued Dual-End or Reversible Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2),
  • AND Diagnosed with Hearing Loss or Tinnitus (Ringing in Ear)
Contact A Lawyer


Do You Qualify for a 3M Hearing Loss Settlement?


Common Symptoms of 3M Earplug Injuries

Nearly three million U.S. veterans currently receive benefits for hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Symptoms may include:

  • Listening to television and radio at high volumes
  • Trouble understanding speech, particularly in noisy environments
  • Often asking people to repeat themselves
  • Needing a hearing aid

Will a Military Earplug Settlement Impact My VA Benefits?

No. Receiving a 3M earplug lawsuit payout will not impact VA disability benefits you are receiving, which are based on injury to the veteran and not income or financial need. If you are receiving VA benefits for hearing loss, payments will continue. If a large military earplug settlement or lawsuit payout is received, it may impact certain needs-based or income-based VA benefits and there may be lien obligations. However, you will still be eligible for VA coverage in the future.

The 3M military earplug lawsuits are being pursued against the manufacturer only, not the U.S. Government or any branch of service.

Latest 3M Earplugs Lawsuit Updates in 2023

January 2023 Update: After 3M earplug lawsuit settlement negotiations reached an “impasse”, Judge Rodgers terminated further court-ordered mediation efforts as the MDL, bankruptcy and various appeals proceed, which are likely to take several years to run their course.

December 2022 Update: After plaintiffs filed for a summary judgment, Judge Rodgers sanctioned 3M for an effort to claim it did not bear liability for 3M earplug injuries, barring the legal defense and declaring 3M Company had acted in “bad faith” after being hit with $300 million in earplug lawsuit jury verdicts during the bellwether trials.

November 2022 Update: Judge Rodgers has put in place a stay on the 3M earplug litigation, while ordering the parties to continue hearing loss settlement negotiations during any interlocutory appeal regarding 3M Company’s independent liability for defective Combat Arms earplugs developed by it’s now-bankrupt subsidiary. A group of veterans whose trials were set to be held in the first wave of cases remanded back to federal courts have filed a motion to have the 3M earplug lawsuit stay lifted.

October 2022 Update: Parties are continuing with 3M earplug lawsuit settlement discussions in the MDL, with Mediator Ellis directed by Judge Rodgers to schedule additional negotiations in October 2022, to try to settle 3M earplug lawsuits.

September 2022 Update: The initial 3M earplug settlement talks were held on September 15 and 16, before Special Master Randi Ellis, which also included representatives from state court claims filed in Minnesota, where the manufacturer’s U.S. headquarters are based. Judge Rodgers has reported that the mediation was “was worthwhile and productive”, but a final agreement to settle 3M earplug lawsuits has not been reached.

August 2022 Update: The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has determined that 3M must face earplug hearing loss lawsuits while it’s Aearo Technologies subsidiary moves through the bankruptcy system. The Court has rejected an attempt by 3M Company to tie up the hearing loss lawsuits with this artificial and bad faith earplug bankruptcy filing.

July 2022 Update: In a controversial move, 3M has indicated that it’s wholly owned Aearo Technologies subsidiary is pursuing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Although 3M Company has billions in assets to cover earplug lawsuit payouts, it has issued a press release attempting to establish $1 billion hearing loss settlement fund, even though it knows that amount does not come close to providing proper compensation for veterans. The move came just one week after Judge Rodgers ordered plaintiffs and defendants to prepare the three “waves” of 500 cases each for trial in 2022 and 2023.

May 2022 Update: A federal jury in Florida returned a $77.5 million verdict in the final 3M earplug bellwether trial, which included 19 separate cases going before juries over the past year. This case involved a U.S. Army veteran who received $5 million in compensatory damages, with 3M company ordered to pay an additional $72.5 million in punitive damages. Learn more about the average 3M earplug lawsuit payouts below.

Learn More About

Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuits

Military service members between 2003 and 2015 may be eligible for a 3M earplug lawsuit payout over hearing damage or tinnitus. Find out if you may be eligible for a hearing loss settlement.

See if you Qualify for a Settlement

3M Earplug Settlement With DOJ Over Fraud

The 3M earplug litigation first emerged after the U.S. Department of Justice announced a $9.1 million settlement with 3M Company over the Combat Arms earplugs in July 2018, resolving claims that the manufacturer committed fraud by knowingly selling defective earplugs to the government.

According to allegations raised in a complaint that led to this 3M earplug settlement with the U.S. government:

  • 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were defectively designed, causing them to imperceptibly loosen in users ears over time, which was not disclosed to the U.S. government or military service members;
  • False and inaccurate noise reduction ratings (NRR) for the earplugs were provided by 3M Company, which employed testing methods that did not comply with required or accepted standards;
  • Earplug noise reduction ratings listed on the packaging materials and instructions failed to accurately reflect the true level of hearing protection provided.

The Justice Department alleged that the earplugs were too short to fit in many ears and imperceptibly would move out of place, making them ineffective. In addition, critics say neither 3M nor Aearo provided proper use instructions to soldiers, which should have told the wearers to fold back the flanges on the open end of the plug before inserting the closed end into their ears so that they properly fit.

Is there a 3M Earplug Class Action Lawsuit?

Following the controversial allegations raised in the U.S. Department of Justice investigation, a number of 3M earplug class action lawsuits and individual hearing loss lawsuits were filed throughout federal courts by former and active military service members.

By May 2021, more than 600 cases had been filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, which prompted the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to establish coordinated pretrial proceedings in the federal court system. All 3M earplug claims have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida for common discovery and pretrial proceedings, where the litigation has been managed in a manner similar to a 3M earplug class action lawsuit. However, each claim remains an individual lawsuit, where plaintiffs must established that their hearing loss was caused by the 3M earplug.

By October 14, 2022, the JPML reported that at least 320,638 former and current military service members who suffered hearing damage were pursuing damages against 3M. However, some of those claims were subsequently dismissed due a lack of medical evidence or proof of military service.

More than 257,000 former military service members are still awaiting their day in court to obtain a 3M earplug lawsuit payout.

3M Earplug Lawsuit Payout Amounts Awarded by Juries

Between March 2021 and May 2022, a series of early “bellwether” trials were scheduled by U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers, to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.

A series of 16 jury trials were held, involving 19 separate plaintiffs. 3M lawsuit payouts were awarded in 10 of the cases, with damages of nearly $300 million returned over the failure to disclose known safety defects with the earplugs

Below is a guide to the 3M earplug verdicts returned so far, which have sent a strong signal about the extent of liability the manufacturer and the amount it may have to pay to settle 3M earplug lawsuits brought by service members with hearing loss and tinnitus.

Settlement Amounts Awarded in 3M Earplug Bellwether Trials

In April 2021, the first Combat Arms hearing loss bellwether trial ended in a $7.1 million verdict for three veterans who suffered hearing damage due to the defective design of the earplugs. A number of trials have followed since, with $8.2 million in damages awarded to a veteran in September 2021, a $13 million verdict awarded in November 2021, and a $22 million verdict awarded in December 2021.

In late January 2022, a jury awarded the largest verdict yet, $110 million to two veterans who suffered hearing loss and tinnitus. In late March 2022, 3M lost two cases on the same day, with jury awards totaling $58 million returned. In late April 2022, another U.S. Army veteran was awarded $2.2 million for hearing loss damage linked to the earplugs. The final bellwether trial ended in a $77.5 million verdict in May 2022, resulting in a total of nine losses and six defense verdicts for 3M.

Judge Rodgers has ordered the parties to prepare several large “waves” of 3M earplug cases for remand to U.S. District Courts. However, a stay on those proceedings was issued in late 2022, while 3M Company pursues an interlocutory appeal to the Eleventh Circuit.

How Long Will It Take To Get a 3M Lawsuit Settlement?

Although juries have sent a strong message to 3M Company about the extent of liability it faces if each individual case goes to trial, former veterans left with hearing loss have not been offered individual earplug settlement amounts. After initially appearing that the parties were making progress toward resolving claims in late 2022, the court declared that settlement negotiations were at an “impasse” in early early 2023 and it is unclear how long it may take before the 3M lawsuits settle.

Following early 3M earplug trials in 2021 and 2022, Judge Rodgers ordered the parties to engage in a series of 3M lawsuit settlement talks. However, rather than making a good faith attempt to settle cases, the manufacturer announced that its wholly owned Aearo Technologies subsidiary was filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in July 2022. The parent company unilaterally proposed a $1 billion 3M earplug settlement fund, which would have provided unacceptably low recoveries for veterans.

In August 2022, a bankruptcy judge rejected the attempt to delay the litigation and force settlement negotiations into the bankruptcy proceedings, finding that 3M must continue to face earplug lawsuits while it’s Aearo subsidiary goes through Chapter 11.

In September 2022, Court ordered that the parties resume 3M earplug settlement negotiations, and at least two mediation sessions were held with Special Master Randi Ellis, which Judge Rodgers has described as “worthwhile and productive”.

Following a failure to reach any agreement to settle 3M earplug lawsuits, Judge Rodgers terminated further court-ordered mediation efforts in January 2023, indicating that the MDL will resume efforts to prepare large groups of cases to be ready for remand to U.S. District Courts nationwide as soon as practical after pending appeals are resolved in late 2023 or 2024.

Share Your Story

Read comments about hearing problems experienced by other users of 3M earplugs and share your story with the AboutLawsuits.com community.


3M Earplug Lawsuit Examples

As a result of the manufacturers’ failure to properly test the effectiveness and fit of Combat Arms earplugs, lawsuits have been filed to obtain financial compensation for military personnel who were left with hearing loss or tinnitus.

Many of the lawsuits claim If proper testing had been conducted and adequate warnings provided about problems with the earplugs, it is unlikely they would have been standard issue to military personnel, and hundreds of thousands, potentially millions, of cases of hearing damage could have been avoided.

U.S. Army Veteran Hearing Loss & Tinnitus Lawsuit: Filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in February 2019, U.S. Army veteran Ulrick T. John claims he now suffers from hearing loss, tinnitus and requires use of a hearing aid due to design defects with the 3M’s Combat Arms dual-ended earplugs.

John states he first joined the military in January 1993, and was deployed to Iraq from May 2008 to August 2009, and again from November 2010 to November 2011. The lawsuit states during his training and both deployments he was provided the 3M Dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs to protect him against loud impulse noises and explosions.

U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Suffers Tinnitus From Defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs: Filed by Shannon Weaver in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in February 2019, Weaver claims he was issued the Dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs to protect against loud noises that included servicing the electronic systems within military helicopters and regularly working in close proximity to the loud, propeller-generated aircrafts, among other things.

Weaver states he now suffers from partial hearing loss and ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and requires hearing aids in both ears due to 3M’s failure to disclose known failures and defects.

Have a 3M Earplug Lawyer Review Your Case

It is important to obtain experienced legal representation to pursue a 3M earplug lawsuit to make sure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.

A 3M earplug lawyer will help protect your legal interests, and they provide free consultations to help determine if you or a loved one may be eligible for a settlement. There are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained in your case.



Find Out If You Are Eligible for a 3M Hearing Loss Settlement



  • NataschaFebruary 25, 2023 at 8:57 am

    My Husband used those in Iraq… he has a VA rating for tinnitus and has the TV up so loud it causes distress to other family members including me… He has been diagnosed with hearing loss not only by VA but also SSDI Doctors.

  • DaveDecember 3, 2022 at 5:38 am

    These earplugs would not stay in your ear for nothing. And the instructions were unclear. They tasted horrible. Freedom is loud.

  • MukizaOctober 20, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    I used them in Iraq, while I was contracted by EODT in the Operation Iraq Freedom as a security specialist. My both ears were damaged by the gunshot sounds. Very disappointing. Am disabled because no one can offer me a job with that challenge. My family has gone through a lot of suffering..

  • AndreSeptember 24, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    I used them between 2009 and 2015

  • RayMay 26, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    I used to work for an airline and used these earplugs for about 5 years. I figured if they were good enough for the military they were good enough for me

  • AndrewJanuary 11, 2020 at 7:54 am

    I served in the army from 2008 till 2014 deployed three times and now receiving 10 percent for hearing loss and 100 percent for PTSD and anxiety I used the 3M earplugs

  • Deiselia RqanneDecember 14, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Used them from two to nine

  • VeronicaOctober 2, 2019 at 7:22 am

    The ear plugs that you people are talking about , all factory employees are using those ear plugs today. It is not just the army people , hear in Canada people are being damaged with this kind of ear plugs. I know because when a marchine blew , I had those plugs in my ears to protect my hearing, that day when the marchine blew , it knocked out my ears on both sides , I suffer with tennise in my [Show More]The ear plugs that you people are talking about , all factory employees are using those ear plugs today. It is not just the army people , hear in Canada people are being damaged with this kind of ear plugs. I know because when a marchine blew , I had those plugs in my ears to protect my hearing, that day when the marchine blew , it knocked out my ears on both sides , I suffer with tennise in my ears daily. I had to get hearing aids for both ears , I lost 18% of my hearing is now gone , all because of the ear plugs that the company supplied to those workers . Workplaces are getting away with In proper hearing plugs, they are playing with people's health .

"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.