The combat earplugs used by many soldiers in the United States have been shown to be defective, leading to severe harm to military personnel. One of the most common injuries sustained by soldiers is hearing loss. It is incredibly important that soldiers’ ears are protected when they are exposed to the noise of gunfire and explosions.
The government contracted with 3M Company, which is based out of Minnesota, in order to purchase combat earplugs called Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs. The earplugs come with two levels of protection, and they have an easily recognizable design which involves green and yellow outward facing plugs. The devices were used between 2003 and 2015 for combat soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In one mode, in which the earplug’s yellow end was inserted into a soldier’s ear, individuals would still be capable of hearing communications and commands. This is important for use on a battlefield where soldiers may need to hear important information. In this mode, the earplugs would still protect the person from the loud noises of explosions and gunfire. This mode was referred to as the Open/Weapons Fire mode.
In the second mode, the green end of the device would be inserted into the person’s ear, and the device would block out more noise, or all noise. When used in this way, the device would provide more protection. This would be used in vehicles and air support, or in many training environments.
The earplugs have proven to be defective and to have contributed to the high number of military personnel who have been diagnosed with either hearing loss or tinnitus. People who were injured because of defective 3M earplugs are eligible to be compensated for their loss.
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