Hearing loss doesn’t have to define your future, but it may significantly impact your physical and psychological health.
What Is Hearing Loss?
You may suspect that you have hearing loss if you:
- Hear muffled sounds
- Have trouble understanding speech, especially in noisy settings
- Experience difficulty hearing consonant sounds
- Frequently ask other people to slow down or speak louder
- Consistently need to raise the volume on your computer, television, or radio
- Find yourself withdrawing from conversations or social settings because you can’t hear what others are saying
A doctor can perform the appropriate tests to diagnose your hearing loss. For example, your doctor may perform a physical exam, a tuning fork test, and an audiometer test to see if your hearing is impaired and the degree to which it is impaired. Once a diagnosis is made, your doctor may recommend treatment. Depending on the cause and severity of your hearing loss, treatment options may include surgeries, cochlear implants, or hearing aids, as appropriate.
You Don’t Need to Meet the VA Disability Definition of Hearing Loss
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a precise definition of hearing loss. To qualify for Veterans’ disability benefits, you must meet the VA disability criteria according to the results of VA testing. The VA uses the Maryland CNC test for speech discrimination and a pure-tone audiometry test to determine how you hear tones at different frequencies.
However, if you are seeking personal injury damages, then you are not required to meet the VA standards even if your hearing loss happened during your time in the military.
How Hearing Loss May Impact Your Life
As a Veteran with hearing loss, you may experience:
- Changes in personal relationships
- Difficulty working
- Low self-esteem
- Communication difficulties
- Tense muscles
- Loss of enjoyment of music, live entertainment, and other activities
Your hearing loss and these resulting injuries may have been prevented. Your life may not have been so significantly impacted if the 3M dual-ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs Version 2 that you were provided to use during training or combat had worked like they were supposed to work.
Now Is the Time to Talk to a 3M Injury Lawyer
The United States military thought that it was providing you with adequate ear protection. Your potential legal claim is not against the military, which you so proudly served, but rather against the company that made the earplugs which failed to protect your hearing.
The Department of Justice has already sought compensation from 3M pursuant to the False Claims Act. In July 2018, 3M agreed to pay the government more than $9 million to settle the allegations that 3M knowingly sold the government earplugs without disclosing the fact that the earplugs were defective. Specifically, the earplugs were too short to protect some people. 3M admitted no liability in the settlement but did agree to resolve the allegations for $9.1 million.
If you were one of the people who suffered hearing loss or tinnitus because of 3M’s defective product, then now is the time to take action to protect your rights. The False Claims Act settlement compensated the government for 3M’s wrongdoing. Still, you will not receive any financial recovery from that settlement even though you are one of the service members hurt by the defective product.
Instead, it is up to you to protect your own rights and recovery. You can get started today by contacting our experienced Illinois military hearing injury lawyers. We will find out exactly what caused your hearing loss and if 3M’s defective dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs caused your injury, then we will get you the fair and just recovery that you deserve. Specifically, we will fight for your recovery of past and future:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
You have the right to pursue this compensation even if you currently receive Veterans’ disability benefits. To learn more, please call us or fill out our online contact form at any time to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.