Holographic reconstruction of optical images is one instance of the inverse scattering problem and holographic interferometry is a method for solving phase retrieval problems. These experimental examples of inverse optical methods can be helpful in formulating inverse problems. The experimental methods also often suggest essential characteristics and fundamental limitations of numerical and theoretical solutions. Inthis paper an experimental study of acoustic waves propagating in water will be described which utilized optical holography and holographic interferometry as measurement tools. It is shown that the acoustic fields can be completely determined experimentally by simultaneous measurements of acoustic pressure and particle velocity which can be obtained from the same whole-field,optical interferometry data.