3M issuing payments to veterans as part of $6 billion settlement over earplugs

FILE - In this photo illustration, the 3M Company, formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

3M Company is now sending more than $250 million in payments to U.S. service members and veterans who claimed they experienced hearing loss or other serious injuries after using faulty earplugs made by the chemical and consumer product manufacturer.

Thousands of service members and veterans will receive the payouts by the end of January as part of a settlement, consisting of $5 billion in cash and $1 billion in 3M stock, the company said. The settlement was first announced last year. 

Hundreds of thousands of veterans and current service members sued 3M and Aearo Technologies, a company that 3M acquired in 2008, over their Combat Arms Earplug products. The service members alleged that a defective design allowed the products — which were intended to protect ears from close range firearms and other loud noises — to loosen slightly and allow hearing damage.

"We are pleased with 3M's decision to move up this payment and appreciate its commitment to the resolution of these claims," the plaintiffs' attorney Bryan Aylstock said in a statement to FOX Business.

The payments are expected to go to more than 30,000 past and present U.S. service members. It wasn't immediately clear how much each individual claimant would receive.

The agreement announced in August by 3M, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, marked a resolution to one of the largest mass torts in U.S. history.

RELATED: U.S. Air Force pilot is first active-duty officer to win Miss America 2024

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.