James T. Snyder Law, PLLC
Personal Injury Attorney

Mass Torts

3M Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2)

Dual-ended CAE earplugs sold by 3M. (From 3M Company, as published in 7-26-18 edition of Military Times)

Dual-ended CAE earplugs sold by 3M. (From 3M Company, as published in 7-26-18 edition of Military Times)


It has recently come to light that U.S. military service members were provided with defective earplugs meant to protect their hearing during loud explosions, the firing of military arms, and battlefield noise.  The yellow and green earplugs were manufactured by the 3M Company, and were known as reversible or dual-end 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2).  See, picture, above. 

Through a whistleblower, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit determined that 3M, and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, Inc., knew the CAEv2 Combat Arms earplugs were too short for proper insertion into users’ ears and that the earplugs could loosen without the user noticing and therefore did not perform well – causing users to experience hearing damage, hearing loss, and tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears).  In addition, the U.S. further determined that 3M did not disclose this design defect to the military. 

As a result, the U.S. Department of Justice sued 3M for violations of the Federal False Claims Act, in a case captioned United States ex rel. v. Moldex-Metric v. 3M Company, Case No. 3:16-cv-1533-MBS (D.S.C.).  The case was settled in 2018 by 3M with the agreement by the 3M Company to pay $9.1 million to the U.S. to resolve these allegations that it supplied the U.S. military with defective dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs. 

Here is a press release from the United States Department of Justice setting forth the terms and conditions of the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs settlement:


Here is an article explaining the factual circumstances of the claim and the U.S. D.O.J. settlement from the Military Times newspaper:


As a result, members of any branch of the U.S. military who: (i) served at any time between 2003 and 2015, and (ii) who were issued 3M Dual-End or Reversible Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2), and (iii) have been diagnosed with hearing loss (partial or full) or tinnitus (ringing in the ears), may be eligible for financial compensation for their injury from the earplug manufacturer(s).  Claims and lawsuits currently made for injuries arising from use of these defective 3M earplugs are against 3M, NOT against the U.S. Government or the U.S. armed services and do not affect disability benefits.

If you were a member of the U.S. military and fit these parameters and live in the Central New York, Syracuse, Watertown, Fort Drum or the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division areas, I would like to hear from you.  I will give you a free, no-obligation case review.  Just call or email me today.