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A call to service is one of the most noble traits a person can possess, and there is no higher embodiment of this trait than seen in those who dedicate their life in service of protecting our country – the men and women of our military. It is a remarkable individual who chooses to stand up in defense of our nation and our fellow countrymen, and while they may not ask for praise, or do it for glory – they are more deserving of our gratitude than most anyone else in this world.
For this reason, we are especially outraged that a company would knowingly provide a defective product that permanently injures our service members and puts them in harm’s way. This is exactly what happened with 3M, a company that sold thousands of earplugs they knew to be defective for use in combat. There are currently at least 11 lawsuits filed by U.S. veterans nationwide alleging that the first defect in the earplugs was discovered more than a decade prior, which was covered up by falsified test results so they could continue to profit from selling these products to the military. Our country and our military members trust the companies who supply their essential equipment to keep them as safe as possible – 3M violated that trust profoundly.
For most civilians in non-professional settings, earplugs can provide comfort, convenience, and protection that can spare our hearing from minor damage. For our men and women serving in the infantry who use and/or are exposed to explosions and gunfire, loud vehicles and loud equipment on an extremely consistent and regular basis, hearing protection is the difference between the life and death of their hearing. To go without proper protection can easily result in permanent hearing damage and loss, which is precisely what happened to hundreds of veterans who received these defective products for over 10 years – all while 3M profited off their trust and pain.
These men and women now suffer from degrees of hearing loss and damage, tinnitus, and require the regular use of hearing aids to restore any degree of normalcy to their lives. In the military, sacrifice is sometimes necessary – those who enlist know this. However when a company knowingly puts those enlisted in harm’s way, that is not sacrifice – that is predatory.
Service members knowingly and willingly put themselves in dangerous situations for the good of our nation and its people on a regular basis. As the result of their bravery, they are susceptible to physical and psychological damage. To take advantage of their trust and unknowingly expose them to any more risk than necessary, especially for profit, is despicable. We stand by those who have been wronged by 3M, and seek justice on their behalves. We cannot restore your hearing, but we can do our best to see that 3M compensates you to the best of their ability to make amends for their wrongdoing.