It’s quite ironic that this recent news comes with November 11 on the horizon. We are always appreciative of our veterans and what they have done for us throughout their lives. There’s not enough “thanks” in the world to repay the debt we owe them.
This is why when we get this news, it hurts that much more. However, this story is bittersweet.
International company 3M has reportedly lost their third case regarding inadequate hearing protection they provided to military personnel. It’s been brought to light that 3M did not provide all the information needed to use their product effectively.
One veteran experienced irreversible damage to their hearing and will manage this for the rest of their life.
Thankfully, they’ve challenged 3M in court and called out their mishandling of information. A Florida judge agreed and demanded that 3M pays $8.2 million in restitution.
While this is good news, it can’t happen that way for everyone in the military. Prevention and education are still our greatest weapons against the threat of hearing loss.
How Crucial Is Hearing Protection In Noisy Areas?
This is not the only case regarding the faulty equipment provided by 3M. 259,000 other cases are pending!
The bright side to this is that the military has recognized that loud environments can be dangerous to our troops and is trying to solve it.
Getting protection is step one; getting the proper protection is step two. Even something as simple as foam earplugs can have a hugely positive effect on maintaining your hearing health.
I hope that everyone starts to recognize loud situations and can protect themselves accordingly. Having the proper hearing protection is paramount in preventing severe hearing loss.
What Can Happen If Proper Protection Is Not Used?
The danger of hearing loss is that it progresses gradually. Often people don’t realize they have a hearing loss until someone else points it out to them.
Asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the television, and having trouble keeping up with conversations are just some of the first signs of hearing loss. Ear protection can prevent this from happening.
If your hearing loss is further neglected, then it’s very common for people to develop tinnitus or even cognitive issues.
How Often Should Veterans See An Audiologist?
I see veterans multiple times a week and have a great working relationship with all of them. Due to the beautiful weather we have here in Central Arizona, it provides a perfect retirement environment.
We advise everyone to come to see us once a year. Even if you have no issues now, it puts us in the advantageous position of catching problems before they manifest into serious issues.
I recommend veterans who already have hearing issues see us once every six months. We will be able to monitor your progression closely and be able to make accurate diagnoses.
How 3M Let Down So Many U.S. Army Veterans
The health of hearing is so widely ignored and taken for granted. It’s absolutely terrible that we didn’t take care of our veterans.
That’s one reason why Ascent Audiology and Hearing exists – to educate the community on the long-term effects of neglecting proper ear protection.
The lawsuit against 3M is for failing to disclose that they sold faulty military-issued earplugs.
3M didn’t claim any responsibility or admit any wrongdoing in settlement of the claim. Since that announcement, there have been multiple trials; this case is about one of the most recent trials.
This article covers the most recent in a series of trials against 3M. Hearing protection is serious business for the Veterans Administration.
How Will This Impact The Future Of Hearing Protection?
I hope that this will bring greater awareness to the public to protect their hearing. I also hope that these large companies will learn that a little more research and testing is worth it in the long run to protect its consumers and our veterans.
This case is just the start. There are hundreds of thousands of people that have been affected by this negligence. If we do our job to inform and educate our community, we can help people avoid these pitfalls.
What Are Some Other Noisy Environments That Require Hearing Protection?
The military isn’t the only ones at risk of hearing damage due to their chosen professions. There are many other instances where you should be wearing hearing protection to protect the hearing you have right now.
Mechanics and factory workers are at a high risk of hearing damage due to long-term exposure to loud noises. The consistency of this is what will wear down their hearing at an alarming rate.
Even hobbies such as shooting and riding motorcycles can have a negative effect. Not because of long-term exposure but because these activities are so loud that your ears are not used to it and never will be.
Are You A Veteran Suffering From A Hearing Loss?
If so, we encourage you to come to see us right away. We have the training, experience, and dedication to treat any stage of hearing loss.
If you believe your hearing is a direct result of your time served in the military, then we suggest calling your local VA first to inform them of your issue. You can also mention that you want to see us, and in most cases, VA programs will cover the cost.
You may not get a check for $8.2 million, but your hearing will be taken care of, and that’s the most important part.
Your Next Steps
Whether it’s your hearing or that of a loved one, the first step would be to see us for a comprehensive hearing assessment. These tests provide crucial data that we use to develop a long-term plan to improve your hearing.
If you have any questions about this non-invasive test or other questions regarding your hearing, please call us as soon as possible. We are always available for a no-obligation and friendly chat.
We look forward to helping you soon.
Happy Veterans Day!