Beeswax and cotton: The history of earplugs, part II
Read part I to learn about where the ideas for earplugs originated.
Ear protection among soldiers became prominent in World War I with the Mallock-Armstrong earplugs. The inventors of the earplugs promised “… ordinary sounds and conversations heard as usual. Gunfire and shell bursts rendered harmless,” according to the Brought to Life Science Museum. The earplugs included a scoop to clean the ears. But the museum notes testers felt that scoops used improperly could cause “as much a possible source of injury to the ears as the gun firing.”
By World War II, ear protection for soldiers was more common, with pilots and aircrew stuffing cotton into their ears to reduce the noise. Scholars note cotton wasn’t very effective for hearing protection, leading to numerous military members experiencing damaged hearing.
The V-51R earplugs were developed toward the end of WWII, signifying a turn in ear protection technology. “Popular with artillery crews, the V-51Rs were produced in three sizes in order to fit a wider range of ear canals – an innovation at the time,” reports Industrial Safety and Hygiene News.
Earplug designs and materials used to create them continued to evolve outside of war. The E-A-R Classic Earplugs were created out of industrial PVC foam that can be flattened and inserted into the ear. The earplugs then gently expand, preventing harmful sounds from fully entering the ear canal.
Despite the long history of earplugs and ear protection devices in the military, some veterans continue to suffer from allegedly faulty designs. In 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to the U.S. government to settle allegations that the company sold defective earplugs to the military.
Since then, veterans have reported hearing-related illnesses after using 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs, including tinnitus (ringing in the ears) to hearing loss.
If you served in the U.S. military from 2003 to 2015, there’s a high probability that you used these earplugs and you may be entitled to compensation. The Spencer Law Firm may be able to help you.
You will not be charged a fee unless a recovery is made for you.
The Spencer Law Firm is committed to ensuring victims of dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs are compensated for their pain and loss. We depended on you to defend our country, now depend on Spencer Law Firm to get the compensation you deserve. Call Ashley Spencer at (888)237-4529 or visit us at 4635 Southwest Freeway in Houston. You can also send us a private message here.