If your ears are ringing when everything around you is silent, you likely have a form of hearing damage known as tinnitus. You aren’t alone, though — approximately 50 million Americans experience the same thing.
If you find your tinnitus getting worse over time and happened to use 3M earplugs during your military service, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your condition.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
So, What Is Tinnitus?
This condition is often noted by ringing or buzzing in the ears, even when the environment around you is silent. Over time, many people become used to it and hardly notice the symptoms. For some, though, it can make even simple tasks like reading difficult to concentrate on.
While things like ear infections or thyroid issues can cause tinnitus, it most commonly occurs from noise-induced hearing loss.
Military defense contractors often develop this condition due to the high level of noise they’re constantly surrounded by (explosions, gunfire, loud equipment, etc.).
How Is It Treated?
Unfortunately, there currently isn’t a cure for tinnitus. But there are steps you can take to hear more clearly. These include:
- Hearing aids
- Cochlear implants
- Listening to white noise (such as rain sounds) while trying to sleep
The effectiveness of the treatment will vary from person to person and will also depend on how severe your condition is.
Am I Entitled to Compensation?
Under normal circumstances, the average person most likely isn’t entitled to any sort of compensation for their tinnitus.
But defense contractors who were issued 3M earplugs to use while on the job may be owed compensation for their condition.
For those unaware, 3M Company is currently facing over 2,000 lawsuits over the defectiveness of its Combat Arms earplugs. The suits claim that not only did faulty product design lead to hearing damage, but that 3M also knowingly introduced these defective products to the market.
In 2018, 3M paid out nearly $10 million to settle similar allegations. But the company didn’t admit fault of any sort and hasn’t acknowledged their product’s defects.
The tinnitus that military servicemen experience is often slightly different than what the average person goes through. In addition to ringing, defense contractors with hearing damage could have the following issues:
- A feeling of “fullness” within the ears
- Difficulty understanding when people speak — words can sound muffled
- Difficulty hearing something clearly that’s more than three feet away
If you’ve experienced a similar scenario, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible in order to get started with legal proceedings. Chances are that you’ll receive compensation for your hearing damage and worsened quality of life.
Handling Tinnitus Getting Worse Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about tinnitus getting worse in mind, you’ll be well on your way to taking the appropriate steps toward getting compensation.
Want to learn more about what to do if you’ve been injured while working as a defense contractor? This article has plenty of useful info.
To see how we can help, get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation.