The origins of the Acoustics Research Institute (ARI; known in German as the Institut für Schallforschung, ISF) lie in the Phonogrammarchiv (engl. phonogram archive) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) whose commission submitted an application for the foundation of a commission for Acoustics Research on December 14, 1971. According to the activity report of the commissions and institutes, the application was justified "in order to study experimental, applied and theoretical sound-analytical problems, which have become increasingly important in recent times". This motion was accepted by the general meeting of the ÖAW on January 28th, 1972. The head of the Phonogrammarchiv, Walter Graf, was appointed as chairman of the newly founded commission.
In 1994, the Acoustics Research commission was elevated to a research unit, and since 2000 it gained the status of an independent research institute. From the beginning, Werner A. Deutsch was instrumental for ARI's development, assuming the role of the chairman during the entire period ARI was a research unit, and then later assuming the role as director during the first twelve years after ARI became an institute. In 2012, on ARI's fortieth anniversary, the leadership passed to the mathematician Peter Balazs. Since then, many new research priorities have been set and numerous new projects have been tackled.
The anniversary celebration is planned for the coming spring.