There is no question that veterans have made sacrifices for our country, but one thing they should not have had to deal with was the needless sacrifice of their hearing. And yet, that is just what happened. When a large company developed an earplug that was supposed to help protect their hearing while still allowing them to hear orders from their superior officers, vets followed orders and used the earplugs.
Unfortunately, the company behind the earplugs may have been more interested in profit margins than the quality of their product. It turned out the earplugs were not protecting the soldiers’ hearing. Instead, a faulty design caused the soldiers’ ears to be bombarded with noise instead of shielded from noise. This has led countless veterans to report serious hearing issues including hearing loss and tinnitus, a ringing in the ears that can make it difficult to sleep and contribute to additional health problems including the development of anxiety and depression.
And the key to the frustration of this situation is the term “needless.” It appears the corporation behind the earplug was well aware of the likelihood it would not protect, but instead damage, soldiers’ hearing.
What can veterans do if they suffered hearing damage?
Veterans and active duty soldiers are holding the giant in the corporate world responsible for these earplugs, 3M, accountable for their actions. Their efforts are gaining national attention and setting records. As of the writing of this post, over 200,000 have stepped up to hold 3M accountable for their actions. Lawsuits for the damage caused by the “dual-ended” Combat Arms earplug now outnumber those for asbestos products.
It is unfortunate that veterans and active duty soldiers, among others injured by these earplugs, need to step up and fight yet another battle. But it is an important fight. This battle allows these individuals to hold the corporate world accountable for their wrongdoing and can help to discourage other businesses from putting profit over consumer safety.