All veterans enrolled in VA healthcare are eligible for diagnostic audiology care and hearing aids – if their hearing assessment determines the need for them.

U.S. Army Veteran Awarded $8.2M In Hearing Protection Fail

by | Nov 8, 2021 | Expert Insights, Hearing Loss, Industry News, Patient Resources

We talk a lot about hearing healthcare here at our hearing clinic in Spring, Texas for good reason. And part of good hearing care is the preventative measures that can be taken, even in our younger years, that will protect us from living with hearing damage in the future.

Sadly, our story today highlights how our veterans were let down badly by one company even though our service member took the right precautions. They wore their hearing protection earplugs believing their hearing would be adequately protected, only to discover that it wasn’t because of design flaws and poor instructions in 3M’s product.

Now many of them are filing lawsuits against 3M for the permanent hearing loss and tinnitus they now have.

How Important Is Hearing Protection In Loud-Noise Environments?

Wearing hearing protection is crucial to preventing damage and conserving your hearing, especially in loud-noise environments.

Our veterans, in particular, risk their hearing daily while in service to our country. From blast injuries to loud-noise exposure from gunfire to military equipment, their need for hearing protection is high.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Adequately Protect Your Hearing?

Hearing loss from not wearing hearing protection can happen in one ear or both ears.

There are multiple additional downsides to living with an untreated hearing loss, mostly to do with how difficult it is to maintain an enjoyable lifestyle when you can’t hear or understand those around you.

We’ve seen so many new patients who have avoided social settings, and even family events, out of embarrassment; and the numbers show that many sink into depression that can lead to cognitive decline if the hearing loss remains untreated.

There’s just no need for this when we have many excellent hearing treatment options available these days.

How Often Do Veterans See Audiologists About Their Hearing?

A majority of veterans have a hearing loss, but most of them don’t even realize it because they have learned how to compensate and because the hearing loss can be very gradual.

Many VA studies show how often our veterans experience loud-noise exposure and hearing damage in their line of work, so all veterans enrolled in VA healthcare are eligible for diagnostic audiology care and hearing aids – if their hearing assessment determines the need for them.


What Does 3M’s Product Failure Mean?

Due to 3M not providing our veterans with the best hearing protection possible, many of them now live with permanent hearing damage and tinnitus.

If 3M had educated our vets on the proper use of their combat earplugs, not covered up design flaws, and not fudged data on their effectiveness, I doubt we would have the high numbers of hearing loss and tinnitus we are now seeing.

How Do These Judgments Affect The Future Of Hearing Protection?

I think these cases will spread awareness and educate people on the need for quality hearing protection and also encourage people to do a lot of research on providers.

I would hope there is more intervention by professionals when a hearing product is found to be deficient and that we would all work together to standardize the need for hearing protection in the workplace.

When Should You Wear Hearing Protection?

Really, your ears need to be protected from any sudden loud noise or constant exposure to it.

One of the main causes of hearing damage we’re seeing in younger people is the high volume they set their headphones and ear pods to.

Other damage can come from hobbies such as hunting or music events and the work environments of mechanics, construction, factory workers, musicians, and our military.

Even something as simple as a hair dryer or lawnmower can cause damage. Daily activities are louder than you realize.

Are You A Veteran With A Hearing Loss or Tinnitus?

Get a referral from the VA and come see us so we can do the hearing assessment you need to qualify for all the hearing help the VA provides.

Read more about VA hearing benefits.

What Can You Do Next To Protect Your Hearing?

We offer custom hearing protection options for all lifestyles and situations, so make an appointment to come see us and get yours.

If you think that you or a loved one might have a hearing loss or tinnitus, take the first step and book a comprehensive hearing assessment with our experts at North Houston Hearing Solutions.

We are looking forward to helping you.

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Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry in 2003, and earned her Doctorate of Audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a preferred provider for the American Institute of Balance (ABI), a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA) and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association. In addition to her years of experience identifying, diagnosing and treating all types and degrees of hearing loss, and vestibular disorders, Dr. Brooks has spent the last 13 years becoming an expert in Tinnitus management and therapy. Dr. Brooks is also one of the few providers in the country certified for Lyric Implantable Devices. For over seven years, Dr. Brooks successfully ran and operated more than six audiology clinics for one of the largest practices in the state of Texas before joining the North Houston Hearing Solutions team in 2016. Dr. Brooks prides herself on providing her patients with the highest quality of care. She loves her patients dearly and feels so fortunate that she gets to help improve their daily lives. This love, combined with her impressive skill set, business experience and passion for helping people hear has made Dr. Lacey Brooks a wonderful addition to the North Houston Hearing Solutions’ team. When not at the office, Dr. Brooks enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, family, and friends. Dr. Brooks is also very involved in her church and with mission work in her community and abroad.

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