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ADF 3M Combat Earplug Class Action Investigation

Shine Lawyers is investigating a class action on behalf of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who served from 2003 and suffered hearing loss or damage from the use of defective Combat Arms Earplugs (CAE).

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What is the ADF 3M Combat Earplug Class Action Investigation about? 

This class action investigation aims to determine whether Aearo Technologies Inc. and its parent company, 3M, manufactured and supplied defective Combat Arms Earplugs (CAE) to ADF personnel from 2003.  

Between 2003 and 2015, Aearo Technologies Inc. manufactured and supplied the ADF with CAE, for the purpose of preventing hearing loss and tinnitus in servicemen and servicewomen. 3M bought the company in 2008 and took over the military contract.   

It is alleged that the CAE failed to form a proper seal when inserted, meaning they did not protect the user’s ear from the excessive noise that would occur when using combat equipment, industrial equipment, or when working with heavy machinery. This may have led to total or partial hearing loss, tinnitus, vestibular disturbance and other forms of ear damage. 

This is an image of Shine Lawyers for the purpose of legal action against Aearo Technologies Inc., and its parent company, 3M. It is not sourced from or endorsed by Aearo Technologies Inc., and its parent company, 3M.

Can I join the ADF 3M Combat Earplug Class Action Investigation? 

To be eligible to join the ADF 3M Combat Earplug Class Action Investigation, you must have:

  • Served in the Australian Defence Force after 2003; and 

  • Suffered total hearing loss, partial hearing loss, tinnitus, vestibular disturbance or any other symptoms relating to damaged ears from the use of CAE. 

How to register your interest in the ADF 3M Combat Earplug Class Action Investigation

To register your interest for the ADF 3M Combat Earplug Class Action Investigation on a no-cost, no-obligation basis, please click the 'Register for the investigation’ button below to fill out the registration form. 

Register for the investigation

Frequently Asked Questions

What were Combat Arms Earplugs designed for?

Combat Arms Earplugs were designed to protect ears from the loud sounds associated with military training and combat. Being two-sided, they eliminated the need to carry two different sets of earplugs, as one side was designed to block all noise. The other side was designed to block high impact noise while allowing other sounds, such as radio chatter to be heard.

What injuries are associated with defective Combat Arms Earplugs?

The common injuries that are associated with defective Combat Arms Earplugs are: 

  • A constant ringing in the ears, otherwise known as Tinnitus; 

  • General hearing damage or pain which requires medical treatment;  

  • Loss of balance, vertigo, postural instability or blurred vision; 

  • Diagnosed total hearing loss. 

I never worked for the ADF, but I have suffered industrial deafness. Can I make a hearing loss claim?

If you have suffered partial or complete hearing loss because of your work, you may be eligible to make a hearing loss compensation claim for industrial deafness. 

To find out more, please visit here.

What is a class action?

When Governments, large companies or institutions do the wrong thing and people are harmed or suffer loss as a result, an individual can have little to no means of bringing a legal claim.

Class actions are an important mechanism within Australia’s legal system that allow large groups of people to come together to pursue a claim collectively.

For a class action to take place, there are three criteria that need to be met:

  1. There must be 7 or more people that have claims against the same defendant; and

  2. The claims relate to the same or similar circumstances; and

  3. The claim must relate to at least one common issue of law or fact.

For more information about how class actions resolve, click here.

How long do class actions take to resolve?

It can take up to several years for a class action to resolve. The time taken from case commencement through to resolution and settlement administration depends on the particular case, and the nature of the claim.

For more information about class actions and how they work, click here.

Does it cost anything to join a class action?

Shine Lawyers is committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background or financial situation, has access to justice. We run our class actions in a way that means you are not exposed to any costs or financial risk, so joining a class action will cost you nothing.

When a class action is successful, the legal fees and costs to run the class action are deducted from the settlement amount that is approved by the Court. If the class action is unsuccessful, we will ensure there are no out-of-pocket costs to you.

Will my contact details be kept private?

Yes, your contact details will remain confidential and we will seek your consent before disclosing any of your personal information (including before such disclosure is required by the Court).

Shine Lawyers will only use your personal information strictly for the purpose of the legal proceedings.

Meet the ADF 3M Combat Earplug Class Action team 

Shine Lawyers’ ADF 3M Combat Earplug Class Action team includes some of the firm’s most experienced litigators, solicitors and support staff. You can learn more about the team running this class action by clicking on their profile below. 

Why Choose Shine Lawyers?


In successful settlements and judgments

We have secured more than $1 billion in class action settlements and judgments for our group members. 

See our past class actions

years of collective experience

Our team includes the country’s most experienced class actions experts and litigators with the skill, industry insight and dedication to deliver the best possible outcomes for deserving Australians.


dedicated class actions team members

We are proudly one of the largest class actions teams in the country.  Our senior practitioners are supported by a dedicated team devoted to the complex field of class actions.

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