APM's best jobs for people with auditory processing disorder

Finding and keeping a job can be challenging if you’re living with auditory processing disorder.

Having the right support can help you feel empowered and confident at work.

In this guide to jobs for people with auditory processing disorder, you will find information about suitable job types, workplace accommodations and where to get help.

In this article:

  • What is auditory processing disorder?
  • What is it like living with auditory processing disorder?
  • What are the best jobs for people with auditory processing disorder?
  • Is auditory processing disorder considered a disability?
  • How to manage at work with auditory processing disorder
  • Asking your employer for accommodations at work
  • Disclosing your condition

What is auditory processing disorder?

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a hearing and listening disorder that affects the brain's ability to interpret sounds and speech. It is also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD).

People with APD do not necessarily have a hearing impairment. They can usually hear sounds well, but have trouble understanding and using that auditory information.

What is it like living with auditory processing disorder?

Living with auditory processing disorder is different for everyone.

Some people experience severe communication difficulties and hearing problems which may lead to health and safety issues in the workplace.

Others may struggle to focus when there is a lot of background noise or have auditory processing problems with heavy accents. It may take more time to process information or pick up new skills.

On the flip side, people with APD often develop positive traits that make them an asset to the workplace. Having to learn things more slowly often means you have a deeper and more solid understanding of the subject at the end.

Things like persistence, creative thinking, attention to detail and empathy are also common traits in people with APD.

How does auditory processing disorder affect everyday life?

A person with auditory processing disorder may experience a range of challenges in their daily life, including difficulties with:

  • Hearing speech when there is a lot of background noise
  • Misunderstanding what people have said
  • Understanding verbal instructions
  • Differentiating between sounds that are similar
  • Concentrating and staying focused
  • Short and long term memory of auditory information

Looking after your mental health

Facing challenges at work and in your day to day life can have an impact on your mental health. If you experience setbacks when looking for a job, it’s natural to feel discouraged and low.

If you are experiencing anxiety or depression symptoms, it’s important to reach out for support. APM can help you access mental health services and other support systems you might need.

What are the best jobs for people with auditory processing disorder?

When looking for the best jobs for people with auditory processing disorder, it’s important to understand your own interests, skills and needs.

Talking with an employment consultant can help you discover job types and career pathways that are a good fit for you.

Here are some job types to consider.

1. Jobs that rely on written communication

Jobs that rely heavily on auditory information or verbal communication can be challenging, especially in fast paced environments.

For example, reception and customer service jobs often require lots of verbal communication and telephone use. You may have to process information from strangers and people with strong accents which can be challenging.

You might feel more comfortable in jobs which rely more on written communication or that can be adapted to do so.

Examples include:

  • Copywriting – Copywriters create written content such as blogs, articles and website pages. Many copywriters work from home, which can give you more control over your work environment.
  • Web design – Web designers help create websites. They often work from home and communication with clients and team members can be adapted to rely more on written forms.
  • Information technology – To help overcome communication issues, requests can be made via email or text chat rather than over the phone.

2. Jobs where you can do one task at a time

Multitasking can be stressful as it requires you to process a lot of information at once.

Jobs that are focused on tasks and deadlines – such as sales and marketing – can also be stressful if you need extra processing time.

Roles where you can focus on one task at a time or have more control over your schedule might be a better fit.

Examples include:

  • Massage therapy – Massage therapists are required to focus on one customer at a time.
  • Accounting – Accountants and bookkeepers have tasks that can be broken up into smaller steps to focus on.
  • Photography – Photographers often work on one project at a time. They are often self employed which can allow for more flexibility.

3. Jobs in quiet environments

You might want to avoid jobs in noisy environments – such as airports, manufacturing factories and restaurants – especially if you’re required to communicate verbally while doing your job.

Quiet environments can make it easier to process verbal information. Many workplaces can be modified to reduce background noise.

  • Librarian – Libraries tend to be quiet workplaces, making it easier for communication with the public and fellow staff members.
  • Administration assistant – some office environments are quiet and low-stress. Accommodations can be made to improve communication. For example, smart pens can help with note taking during meetings.
  • Shelf stocker – Shelf stockers in grocery stores often work after hours when customers are not present.

4. Work from home jobs

Working from home can help you better control your environment to be more productive. Many jobs can be done from home, and your employer may allow you to work from home part time if full time is not possible.

Work from home jobs include:

  • Graphic design
  • Data entry
  • Translation
  • Bookkeeping

Is auditory processing disorder considered a disability?

Auditory processing disorder may be classed as a disability if it affects your ability to work or perform day to day tasks.

Individuals with APD may also live with other conditions which affect learning and processing as well, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Are you eligible for Disability Employment Services?

If APD symptoms are making it difficult to find a job or cope at work, you could be eligible for support from APM through the Disability Employment Services program.

We can help you with things like:

  • Finding suitable job opportunities
  • Writing your resume
  • Preparing for interviews
  • Accessing mental health services
  • Ongoing workplace support
  • Accessing workplace modifications

How to register

To register for Disability Employment Services you can:

  • Ask Centrelink for a referral to a provider of your choice.
  • Register directly with a provider such as APM.

Can you overcome auditory processing disorder?

Auditory processing skills, changes to the work environment and specialised equipment can help with overcoming some of the challenges you might face at work.

With the right support, most people with auditory processing disorder are able to have a successful work life in a wide range of industries.

What to do if you’re struggling at work

If you are finding it hard to cope at work or are worried about losing your job, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

APM helps thousands of people like you every week find solutions to stay in work and feel empowered and confident doing your job.

When you get in touch with us, one of our employment consultants will work closely with you to find a way forward that’s right for you.

How to manage at work with auditory processing disorder

Everyone has different needs in the workplace. It's important to understand how you work best so that you can make changes to help you succeed at your job.

What helps adults with auditory processing disorder?

Some things that may help adults with APD succeed at work include:

  • A quiet environment to work in
  • Extra time for processing verbal information
  • Others not speaking too fast
  • Using written communication over verbal
  • Auditory training
  • Remote work (work from home)

How do you deal with auditory processing disorder at work?

Things that might help someone deal with symptoms of auditory processing disorder include:

  • Acoustic panels to reduce noise pollution
  • Relocating the workstation to a quieter area
  • Requesting written instructions over verbal
  • Following up verbal conversations with an email
  • Recording and transcribing software
  • Avoiding phone calls or using a headset

How do you focus with auditory processing disorder?

Ways to improve focus at work include:

  • Using noise cancelling headphones
  • Breaking jobs into smaller tasks
  • Requesting a written agenda before meetings
  • Sitting close to the speaker in a meeting
  • Using scripts for regularly occurring situations
  • Take breaks

Asking your employer for accommodations at work

Australian employers are legally required to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace so their employees can do their job well and safely.

If you don’t feel confident asking your employer for accommodations at work, APM can help. We’ll work closely with you and your employer to find solutions that work for everyone.

Your employer may be eligible for funding to make some adjustments.

Workplace assessments

If you’re not coping at work but aren’t sure what changes you need, APM can help you access workplace assessments to identify adjustments in the workplace so you can do your job with confidence.

Your symptoms and needs may change over time. It’s important to revise workplace adjustments regularly to make sure you’re still getting the support that’s right for you.

Disclosing your condition

Deciding whether or not to disclose that you have APD is a deeply personal decision. You do not have to disclose unless it affects your ability to perform the essential tasks of the job or is a safety risk.

Some people decide to disclose during their job application or interview as this can help manage expectations with the employer from the outset.

Others fear being treated differently or being let go if their employer finds out about their APD.

Talking through your options and the potential outcomes with a professional can help you feel more confident about your decision.

Need help finding or keeping a job? APM is here for you.

When you have the right support and tools, working can be hugely beneficial for your overall well being. Not only does it make you more financially secure, it can give you a sense of purpose, connection and satisfaction.

Every week we help thousands of people across Australia find and keep work, including jobs for people with auditory processing disorder.

If you're ready to get to work, we're here to support you every step of the way. Call us today on 1800 276 276 and let's get to work.