(Reuters) – Federal juries on Friday awarded a total of $58 million to two former service members who said combat earplugs that 3M Co sold to the military caused them to suffer hearing damage, the latest verdicts to result from hundreds of thousands of lawsuits over the product.
Jurors in Pensacola, Florida, awarded $50 million to Luke Vilsmeyer, a U.S. Army veteran who said that after using 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 from 2006 to 2017 primarily during training he suffered permanent hearing loss and severe tinnitus.
Later, a Tallahassee jury awarded $8 million in compensatory damages to Steven Wilkerson, who said using the earplugs while serving in the Army National Guard during training and combat caused him to develop tinnitus and hearing loss.
They are among the more than 280,000 former and active military members who have sued 3M claiming the company’s combat earplugs are defective and damaged their hearing, in what has become the largest federal mass tort litigation in U.S. history.
“It is clear 3M’s defenses — whether in the courts, to investors, or the public — are unconvincing and without merit,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in a joint statement … Read more.
8 Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss
Medically Reviewed by Shelley A. Borgia, CCCA on June 09, 2021
WebMD – As you get older, the tiny hair cells in your inner ears slowly break down and can’t pick up sound vibrations as well as they used to.
In addition, a lot of loud sound over time can damage the hair cells in your ears.
The good news? You can do some things to avoid noise-induced hearing loss and keep age-related hearing loss from getting worse. Here are eight tips to help keep your ears as sharp as possible.
1. Avoid Too Much Noise
How loud is too loud? If you have to shout over the noise around you, it’s loud enough to damage your hearing. Sounds from motorcycles, concert speakers, power tools like saws and drills, earphones, and more are all loud enough to make a difference. Learn more about the relationship between loud music and hearing loss.
2. Be a Quiet Enforcer
Think about buying appliances and devices that have low noise ratings. And if it’s too loud in the movie theater, restaurant, or any other place you go often, ask the manager to turn it down. It’s a good idea to carry earplugs.
3. Limit Loud Sounds in Your Life
Sometimes you can’t avoid the blare of an ambulance siren or the jackhammer on your street corner. But it’s best to limit the amount of time you’re around them. Noise-induced hearing loss is a result of the loudness of sounds and how long you hear them.
4. Wear Hearing Protection
If you know you’re going to be around loud sounds for more than a few minutes, think about wearing protection, such as:
Earplugs. Usually made of foam or rubber, they go in your ear canal and can reduce noise by 15 to 30 decibels. You can buy them off-the-shelf or have them custom-made to fit you. Some earplugs lower noise levels evenly across all frequencies. They’re useful for people who need to make sound quieter but undistorted, such as musicians.
Earmuffs. These fit completely over your ears and reduce sounds by about 15 to 30 decibels. They have to fit tightly over both ears to block sound.
You can also wear earplugs and earmuffs together for even greater protection … READ MORE.