If you used defective 3M Combat Earplugs while serving in the military between 2003 and 2015, you may have suffered a range of serious injuries to your inner ear area – including partial or full hearing loss. One of the most commonly reported injuries is tinnitus, better known as “ringing of the ears.”
Although hearing loss is a self-evident injury, tinnitus can be much more difficult for people to identify. Because the victim is usually the only person who understands the day-to-day toll of tinnitus, friends and family members may not be able to help you recognize the signs and symptoms of this often-overlooked condition.
Key Symptoms of Tinnitus
It’s estimated that tinnitus may affect up to 20% of all adults, although not every person will experience its symptoms to the same degree. Tinnitus also isn’t considered a medical condition in its own right: Instead, doctors see it as a telltale sign that there are hidden ear problems and injuries, whether those injuries are related to age-related hearing loss or caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises.
Known for its characteristic phantom “ringing” noises, tinnitus can cause you to hear a wide range of sounds that are not actually caused by an external event. This is why the majority of tinnitus cases are classified as “subjective tinnitus,” which means that there has been damage to the individual’s auditory nerves, or to parts of the brain related to hearing.
Here are a few of the most commonly reported sounds you may hear with tinnitus:
- Whooshing noises, like the sound of fast-moving water
- Constant buzzing, as if there were an insect near your ear
- Humming sounds, or hearing random musical notes
- Low roaring and rumbling noises
- Clicking sounds of varying intensity
- Hissing, like steam in a kettle
- High-pitched squeals and squeaks
Of course, there are some cases where doctors can also hear sounds in the patient’s ear by using a stethoscope. This is known as “objective tinnitus,” and it’s usually caused by blood vessel and bone problems rather than exposure to loud sounds.
How Do You Know if You Have Tinnitus?
Because subjective tinnitus has the tendency to turn on and off at different times, you may come to believe that your tinnitus is just a temporary effect that can be ignored. But if you’re consistently hearing any of the noises listed above without a clear external cause, it may be time to consult with a doctor about your injuries.
If you were issued 3M Combat Earplugs during military service between 2003 through 2015, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Living with tinnitus can be incredibly frustrating and painful, and you deserve recovery of monetary damages when manufacturers like 3M have engaged in negligent and/or fraudulent conduct.
For more information about our legal services for veterans, contact Wilson Law P.A. today at (919) 800-0919.