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(Asking this question for a friend)

What is the icon to the left of the GPS icon in the notification bar? The one that looks like an ear?

enter image description here

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I'd say a headset, from the pic -- so maybe it indicates something with speakers and a microphone (i.e. a headset -- as opposed to simple "ear-phones" without a micro) is connected to the device? Seeing the app running, that could also apply to the car's system. (Btw: to me it looks like a one-sided (mono) headset with a microphone, wouldn't you agree? :) – Izzy Nov 30 '12 at 20:45
What model of phone is this? – Compro01 Nov 30 '12 at 21:43
@Compro01 It's not my phone, but I believe it's a Samsung Galaxy S3 on Verizon – Bryan Denny Dec 3 '12 at 1:28
up vote 11 down vote accepted

It's supposed to represent a hearing aid, and it means that Hearing Aid Compatibility is enabled.

It should go away if you go into the call settings and disable the hearing aid option. It'll either be something like Settings->Calls or pressing the Menu button on the dialer to get into the call settings (I think it varies some).

Supporting source, second source

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For the Galaxy S3, this indicates that the telecoil mode (aka T mode or electromagnetic coupling) is active. As eldarerathis mentions, this is a type of Hearing Aid Comparability. It involves using the speaker coil in a specific manner to inductively couple with a compatible hearing aid.

In this mode, the hearing aid shuts off its microphone and receives audio only from the phone, effectively eliminating background noise and giving better performance than just using the hearing aid to pick up and amplify the phone's normal audio (which is known as M mode or acoustic coupling).

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