A group of veterans who now suffer from hearing loss and other hearing disabilities are working to take legal action against the company that made defective ear plugs they used in battle.
The billion-dollar company 3M provided the ear plugs to the United States Government for 13 years to give to men and women serving in the armed forces.
More than two million men and women in the armed forces have served tours of duty where their bodies strenuous physical activity.
In most instances, veterans found themselves around loud gun fire and explosions. To protect their hearing the government gave soldiers those ear plugs.
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Attorney Arron Neglia served four years in the U.S. Army. He told FOX13 those ear plugs are the reason many veterans have lost their hearing.
"They were mandated that we had to wear them to protect us from blasts, gun fire,” Neglia said.
Neglia and attorney Murray Wells are representing several other veterans who suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus.
Between 2003 and 2015 the United States government contracted the Minneapolis-based company 3M to make the plugs for soldiers.
In 2018, the Department of Justice announced a settlement with 3M for more than $9 million to resolve allegations that 3M knowingly sold defective earplugs to the United States Armed Forces.
"They knew this was a bad product and they sold it to our armed services and as a result people are having very severe problems. The VA is saturated with people with hearing issues,” Wells said.
According to the Veteran Affairs website, in 2014 more than 900,000 veterans received disability compensation for hearing loss.
Nearly 1.3 million received compensation for tinnitus.
"It's an endless thing and it's sad because of the selfless service we signed up for – 3M was looking at their profits and not protecting our hearing,” Neglia said.
To learn more about how veterans can get information about these earplugs and if you have been affected by them, click here.
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